Photograph — New York Times

Twitter is the latest social media platform allowing creators to earn from adverts that appear on their timelines. The announcement that Twitter will now be joining other social media platforms to pay creators a percentage of ad revenue came from its CEO, Elon Musk, via his Twitter handle. The plan is simple, Twitter will use the revenue generated from the ads that appear on the creator’s reply thread to pay them. While other details, one of which is “how this revenue will be shared” is yet to be disclosed, this is s a welcome incentive to keep creators active on Twitter. Musk once expressed concerns over the fact that most of Twitter’s most followed accounts rarely post any content. And according to a Reuters report, only 10 percent of its overall monthly users create most of the content. 

Ad revenue is a great way for creators to earn money for their work. Usually, brands pay social media platforms for advertisement and these ads are spread and infused into different content that most times match the brand’s intended audience. Currently, YouTube has the most profitable Ad revenue-sharing offering among other social media apps, which is also why many creators find it appealing making it the most used platform by creators. In the fourth quarter of 2022, YouTube generated $7.96 billion in ad revenue. This significantly boosted the creator economy.  

Yet, African creators were at the bottom of the earners’ list. And it’s not just YouTube. African creators on other social media platforms that have offered ad-revenue sharing in the last few years also have the same challenge. Last year, Fortune magazine reported that TikTok Pulse, the company’s creator ad-revenue sharing initiative, paid creators trifling sums. Again, the list went from Asian creators earning the most from Ad-revenue to North Americans, down to African creators. More often than not, content creators will have their content consumed by a local audience. African creators struggle to earn a living from their content because of payment problems and the low earning power of their audience. That means they most likely cannot generate as much as they would like from ad revenue because of their audience’s location. 

 Twitter’s ad revenue also has a condition attached to it. To qualify for Twitter’s ad revenue sharing, the creator must be a verified member with a blue tick, a feature that has required Twitter users to pay $8 monthly to get and retain from last year. After his interesting takeover, Elon musk made it clear that he intended to make Twitter more creator friendly. Yet this strategy favors the company more than its creators. Let’s look at it this way; Twitter depends on advertising for up to 85 percent of its revenue. But in the fourth quarter of 2022, the company’s revenue fell about 35% due to a slump in advertising. According to a report by Reuters, fourteen of the top 30 advertisers on Twitter stopped all advertising on the platform after Musk took charge. Four advertisers reduced spending between 92% and 98.7% from the week before Musk’s acquisition through the end of the year. Not only will Twitter creators that intend to earn, have to pay $8, their constant tweets to attract adverts under their thread generates revenue for the company. In other words, Twitter’s ad-revenue sharing benefits the platform more than it does the creators.

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