Twitter has announced it is testing a new Tip Jar feature on its iOS and Android platforms starting today. The feature allows money to be sent and received on Twitter, which the company says is a new way for users to show their support.
show your love, leave a tip— Twitter (@Twitter) May 6, 2021
now testing Tip Jar, a new way to give and receive money on Twitter ????
more coming soon… pic.twitter.com/7vyCzlRIFc
How Twitter’s tip jar works
To send a tip to your favourite account, all you need to do is tap on the dollar bill icon on a user’s profile page. If tips are available for the account the icon will sit next to the message and notification alerts.
From there a drop-down will appear showing you all the available payment services the user’s account will allow you to make your donation from.
When I tried this on one account I could choose from PayPal, Venmo and Cash App. Once selected you’ll be taken to that service’s app on your device.
Twitter flagged in its release that services like Bandcamp and Patreon are also available to make payments from.
There’s no word yet on whether you can pay with alternate currencies and send all your dogecoin to Elon Musk.
Tips also go directly to the account owner, with Twitter saying it will not take a cut from the donations.
Who can use tip jar?
From today, anyone using Twitter in English will be able to send donations to their favourite accounts on iOS or Android. However, only a limited group of people will be able to enable the tip jar feature and receive money.
Twitter says this includes creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits, with expansion to more users and languages coming soon.
It’s been suspected for a while that Twitter has been planning some form of subscription service on its platform. While this is not a subscription per se it is the first instance of Twitter allowing money to be exchanged directly through its platform.
Twitter said in its release:
“Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.”
But there’s security concerns
One worrying issue that some users have discovered with this feature is that sending money via certain apps also reveals personal information about the donor.
Huge heads up on PayPal Twitter Tip Jar. If you send a person a tip using PayPal, when the receiver opens up the receipt from the tip you sent, they get your *address*. Just tested to confirm by tipping @yashar on Twitter w/ PayPal and he did in fact get my address I tipped him. https://t.co/R4NvaXRdlZ pic.twitter.com/r8UyJpNCxu— Rachel Tobac (@RachelTobac) May 6, 2021
This appears to be due to each payment service’s own terms and conditions. Twitter has responded by saying it is updating its Help Centre and prompts to make users aware of this.
We’re updating our tipping prompt and Help Center to make it clearer that other apps may share info between people sending/receiving tips, per their terms.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 6, 2021
Twitter has said more information about this feature will be coming soon, which will hopefully include a better fix for this security issue.
Update: A PayPal spokesperson has explained that addresses are only shared if the “goods and services” option is selected during payment. Switching this to “Friends and Family” will not share a user’s address when making a payment. PayPal will be working closely with Twitter to make users aware of this.
In the meantime, you’re free to go out there and support your favourite Tweets.