Twitter doesn’t force ads upon ‘VIP’ users

I'm not famous enough to lose promoted tweets. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

I’m not famous enough to lose promoted tweets. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Our Twitter timelines have become swamped with ads and sponsored tweets, but if you’re famous enough, you don’t have to see them.

To provide its “VIP” users with a greater experience, and to prevent them from wandering to rival services, Twitter has all but stopped injecting ads into their timelines.

Twitter first introduced “promoted tweets” in 2011, and it’s impossible to avoid them. They’ll show up in your timeline whether you view Twitter on the web, using the official Twitter app on a mobile device, and even inside third-party clients.

But if you have enough followers, you no longer have to see them.

“For the past few months, the social media company has stopped displaying ads, or has dramatically reduced the number of ads it displays, to a small group of some of its most prominent and active users,” reports Re/code.

“Sources say Twitter made the move in an attempt to get some of its VIP users to stay engaged with the service.”

For this small number of users, Twitter is an ad-free, or very nearly ad-free, experience. That’s thanks to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who reportedly began testing the idea back in September while he was interim boss. Now it’s sticking around for good.

It is claimed that Twitter doesn’t select ad-free users based purely on the amount of followers they have, but also on things like the volume of tweets they publish, and how many users those tweets reach. But it’s clear that the average Twitter user won’t benefit from this.

Twitter could give us all this option by introducing an ad-free subscription option, but there’s no indication that this will happen. When quizzed on the possibility, Twitter rep Will Stickney sidestepped Re/code’s suggestion.

“We’re constantly looking at constraints and adjustments to optimize which ads are shown and how often,” he said.