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Profitless Twitter starts rumour of paid-for Tweetdeck option

Gotta do something to break even, right?

Twitter, the profitless microblogging website, has floated the idea of offering a paid-for version of its Tweetdeck product – and this is going down amongst the site’s users like a cup of lukewarm vomit.

According to American telly screenwriter Andrew Tavani, who – what else – tweeted what appeared to be screenshots, Twitter is apparently wondering whether to put some of its “premium” features, such as analytics and scheduled tweets, behind a paywall.

Twitter spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca told Reuters: “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people's Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”

Although many news outlets reported that a survey was running, no link to it appeared to be available. Tavani did not respond to questions from other journalists asking where he got his screenshots.

There is no suggestion that Twitter is going to limit its functionality through its standard web interface, despite the outraged howlings of significant chunks of the site’s user base.

Tweetdeck is used mainly by marketers, journalists and public relations operatives. It displays live updates, in chronological order, in a number of user-customisable columns. This is a significantly more user-friendly experience than on the website, where Tweets are displayed in any old random algorithm-defined order, along with irrelevant and intrusive nonsense injected into users’ feeds by advertisers.

Originally conceived by an external company as a standalone program capable of displaying multiple social media channels, Tweetdeck was bought by Twitter in 2011 for $40m. Twitter promptly gutted it of all other social media functionality except its own, then stripped out some of that functionality, before finally killing the desktop version altogether. It later resurfaced as a web app. ®

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