Twitter has launched a new feature to the social network, called Tip Jar. It enables users to send tips to others, an incentive to facilitate support for the voices that make up a discussion. According to the platform, the Tip Jar was inspired by users adding payment links in viral tweets.
Initially, only a select group of people will be able to receive the tips, consisting of content creators – journalists, experts and non-profit organizations.
The new feature adds a small icon to a content creator’s profile. After clicking on the icon, the user is redirected to the chosen payment service, such as PayPal, for example. For now, the icon is only visible on mobile devices. Another limitation is that the new feature, in this format, only works on iOS. On Android it is only available through Twitter’s audio chat rooms. The intention is that the feature will be expanded soon.
Twitter’s Tip Jar raises questions and concerns
Despite getting most of the social networking community excited about the new feature, some questions and concerns are being raised about the Tip Jar.
One such doubt is how news organizations will handle this new context, since journalists are often forbidden to accept gifts. The Tip Jar will certainly raise some discussions in newsrooms about journalistic ethics.
Already the focus of concerns has been about the exposure of personal information. As payments are made on platforms outside of Twitter, some users have noticed that tipping a PayPal account lets the recipient know the postal address of the sender of the tip. In other cases, the recipient’s email address can be seen, regardless of whether or not the tip has been sent.
Twitter product leader Kayvon Beykpour said that the platform cannot control how Paypal handles this information. In an era where data protection laws are becoming increasingly important, Twitter is updating the Tip Jar information to make it clear that some data may be shared.
PayPal, on the other hand, has stated that the solution to the problem is simple. Tip Jar is using its “goods and services” payment option, which shares shipping data. Users can change at the time of payment to the “friends and family” option and the problem would be avoided. It seems like a simple solution and one that depends more on how clearly Twitter will inform users of the platform about the use of their data. Let’s stay tuned!