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Twitter’s Monetary Incentives: Stirring Controversy or Rewarding Engagement?

Twitter, under the leadership of Elon Musk, has been through a whirlwind of changes recently. With Meta’s Threads app rollout stirring the pot, Twitter is implementing strategies to keep its users loyal. One such move? Sharing a portion of the platform’s ad revenue with content creators. This move clearly has content creators elated.

Musk took to Twitter himself on July 13, revealing that these payouts would even apply retroactively from when he first mentioned the plan back in February. Content creators wasted no time in posting screenshots of their sizeable revenue shares. But here’s where the plot thickens: who exactly are these high earners?

Some observant Twitter users are raising eyebrows at the fact that these generous payouts are heading the way of some controversial accounts.

It’s not about the payout system being biased. We see content creators of all political persuasions and genres sharing their earnings. However, since Musk has taken the reins of Twitter, his hands-off approach to free speech has resulted in the platform being used for spreading hateful rhetoric including racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.

And, somewhat uncomfortably, these posts seem to be generating significant engagement.

This situation has led some Twitter users to renew their resistance against the infamous blue checkmark. A rising number of users are advising others not to interact with content they deem unworthy of financial support – and this includes many blue check accounts. Twitter’s decision to verify users on a paid-subscription basis met with widespread criticism and has turned the blue checkmark into a marker of who to follow – and who not to.

This blue checkmark backlash could, if sustained and broadened, impact the direction of Twitter’s new payout system. But until that point, there’s an ironic twist: users who passionately respond to content they perceive as hateful might inadvertently be filling the pockets of those they vehemently oppose.