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Substack copied Twitter so Twitter is copying Substack

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Elon Musk appears to be advancing his feud with newsletter service Substack by announcing he's turning Twitter into his very own version of the upstart, complete with the ability for users to monetize their followers and offer them long-form content.

Elon's Musketeers announced "improvements" on Thursday that Twitter Blue users, who pay something like $8 a month for a blue check and some other features, will be getting the ability to post tweets up to 10,000 characters in length "with bold and italic text formatting."

Musk also shared separately that Twitter's monetization features were now open for applications "to offer your followers subscriptions of any material, from longform text to hours long video," Musk said. 

The Chief Twit added that Twitter won't keep much of the money earned by creators – for the next year, at least. "After first year, iOS & Android fees drop to 15 percent and we will add a small amount on top of that, depending on volume," Musk added.

Substack, for those unaware, is a subscription-based blogging and podcasting platform that allows creators to charge whatever fee they choose for their content. Substack takes a 10 percent cut of subscription prices, while payment processor Stripe takes another few percent, and the rest goes to the author.

Earlier this month, Substack announced a new feature called Notes for publishing and sharing short-form content that many saw as a response to changes at Twitter that endangered its use as a platform for journalists and other content creators.

Substack even said Notes "may look like familiar social media feeds," and Twitter acted fast to suppress news of the upcoming feature, banning Substack links on Twitter and hiding news stories and search results that mentioned Substack.

Monetization in the way Musk announced it isn't new to the platform, but rather is a rebranding of the 2021 Super Follower program, right down to the same pricing tiers of $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month. What's new is the long-form content, though that's not actually available yet – Twitter's just trying to get that monetization cart out before it actually has to code the horse in.

"As we roll out further, we hope to include newsletters and other Twitter features as potential bonus content," Twitter said in a new help page for its Subscription plan. So the name of the subscription plan has changed, but don't expect to ditch Substack for Twitter long-form yet.

It doesn't appear that Twitter users need to have a Blue subscription to sign up for account Subscription monetization – this reporter was told his account was eligible despite not subscribing to Blue.

Whether non-Blue subscribers monetizing their accounts would be able to make use of the 10,000 subscriber character count while they wait for the actual Substack-competitive "potential bonus content" to show up is unknown. If that's not the case, it looks like Twitter's long-form monetization isn't on par with Substack, which doesn't charge its creators a fee for using the platform.

We asked Twitter about this latest monetization push, but only got the poop emoji, as usual. ®

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