Launched in larger test mode yesterday, with a range of ‘creators, journalists, experts and nonprofits with access to the tool, Twitter’s new Tip Jar button on profiles aims to provide users with another way to generate income from their Twitter efforts, with all the benefits, at least at launch, going directly to the creator (less payment platform fees).
What sounds simple enough, potentially beneficial – a new way for users to do more to help their favorite tweeters, who may well be doing difficult things right now due to the continuing impacts of the pandemic.
I mean, other platforms have hint jar options, so that’s nothing new. Everything should be fine. Right?
Well, there are a few big issues right now.
The first, as indicated by cybersecurity expert Rachel Tobac
Huge head on PayPal Twitter Tip Jar. If you tip someone using PayPal, when the recipient opens the tip receipt you sent, they get your * address *. Just tested to confirm by giving a tip @yashar on Twitter with PayPal and he actually got my address, I gave him a tip. https://t.co/R4NvaXRdlZ pic.twitter.com/r8UyJpNCxu
– Rachel Tobac (@RachelTobac) May 6, 2021
So when the user you donated to receives the PayPal receipt, there might be your home address, which seems like a pretty big privacy issue.
Following Tobac’s discovery, Twitter quickly responded, saying it would update its process:
We’re updating our tip prompt and help center to make it clearer that other apps can share information between people who send / receive tips, on their terms.
– Twitter support (@TwitterSupport) May 6, 2021
So Twitter says it’s a PayPal problem – the problem, like PayPal communicate on its own terms, is this when people receive payments through the platform, they either choose a “goods and services” payment, where their address is shared, or they select a “friends and family” payment, in which their details are not submitted.
So if you have a business PayPal account, you’re probably going to share your address information with the person you’re sending a Twitter tip to. Twitter will undoubtedly work to resolve this issue, but it’s a fairly important early issue, which it will need to update before a wider rollout.
The other major issue that users have found with Twitter’s new Tip Jar button is that it’s just as easy for people to request a payment through the process because it’s up to them to make one.
As you can see in this example, posted by Robert martin, because the Tip Jar process just connects users to these third-party payment platforms, it doesn’t exactly define whether to send or receive money systematically. So it gives users the option to choose one or the other. I tested the same through PayPal, and it did indeed give me the option to request money from the user.
As you might expect, this is already leading to profiles with the new Tip Jar button receiving a flood of requests from users trying to get them to pay. That alone could make it an extremely boring function. Twitter can probably solve this problem by working with the payment platforms to improve the system here, and they will definitely need it, because if they don’t, 90% of the button usage will end up being there. opposite of its objective. goal.
The Tip Jar proposal in itself is an interesting option and another part of Twitter’s larger effort to provide more financial incentive for creators to keep tweeting, which could certainly help boost engagement on the platform. And it’s in test mode. Twitter has yet to be fully rolled out, as it needs to fix all potential issues, so the fact that these issues have been spotted now is, in some ways, exactly what is supposed to happen at this point.
But it’s a bit worrying that as Twitter dashes into financial transactions, it overlooked some pretty important details.
It’s all part of the process, I guess, and Twitter will no doubt be updating their Tip Jar system soon.