After gifting politicians with an embargo against following their retractions, Twitter yesterday announced a further gift for politicians which begins with those running for office in the United States. In a blog post today (archived) that could not be contained within their otherwise customary 140 character limit, Twitter announced they would be unveiling "cash tags" facilitating donations to politicians named in a $cashtag through an arrangement with Jack Dorsey's social payments startup Square.
Users first interaction with a $cashtag involves setting up a legacy fiat payment method for billing and delivering to Twitter and Square personal information as mandated by the United States Federal Election Commission, nearly all of which can be farmed from the phonebook's whitepages. $cashtags can further be spread by donors or supporters of a candidate through Twitter's platform to other potential targets for monetary harvest. In addition to the $cashtag Twitter promises better audience tailoring and email collection tools for politicians to use during the 2016 United States election season.
Founded in 2006 Twitter has struggled with financial viability for its near decade of existence with no serious efforts to produce revenue until advertising was unveiled in 2010. In the intervening five years commercial advertising has failed to approach a rate that can keep up with the expenses of keeping Twitter operational. It appears Twitter is staking its future on the billions of United States Dollars which are dumped into election advertising or that Jack Dorsey might be trying to gather momentum for Square off of Twitter's larger but stagnated userbase.