Twitter is introducing a new feature involving “promoted tweets” which show up at the top of users’ feeds. The service is billed as a way for people to get the latest news from the businesses and organizations they follow, but it is also designed to generate revenue for Twitter and could alienate users
Twitter is testing out the feature with a “select group of partners” including Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO and JetBlue. Charities like Make-A-Wish Foundation, Room to Read and The American Red Cross will also get a chance to try out the service.
The Financial Times says that the strategy is meant to generate ad revenue by eventually selling Timely Tweets to companies who want to reach potential customers. The risk is that this strategy will irk users by filling their Twitter feeds with ads.
ZD Net notes that Twitter is likely trying to mitigate a potential backlash by enabling a feature that allows users to get rid of the Promoted Tweet from the timeline with a single click.