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What are Twitter’s plans? An interview with Twitter Germany boss Laurent Buanec

No other social network has so much going on right now as Twitter. A few months ago, the microblogging service known for its 280-character limit tried to reinvent itself with a range of new features, without losing its defining characteristics in the process.

Twitter has also demonstrated social responsibility by implementing effective tools to keep fake news and hate speech out of its virtual discussions, with even former U.S. president Donald Trump being banned from the platform.

Meet Laurent Buanec at DMEXCO21: September 8, from 2 to 2:20 p.m. on the Square Stage.

Things are never quiet at Twitter. The California tech company’s strong sales recently had everyone talking.

Twitter reported a 28 percent increase in global sales in Q4 2020, currently reaches more than 206 million mDAUs (monetizable daily active users), and in its own words wants to double user numbers by 2023. How specifically does it intend to achieve that?

Laurent Buanec: We’ve set ourselves very ambitious goals in order to become even quicker and more innovative. We’re constantly refining Twitter while at the same time implementing new features such as Spaces and Super Follows. When it comes to advertisers, we will also be massively driving performance marketing forward. In addition, we want to further expand the innovations and advertising options, both for big brands and small/medium-sized enterprises. That’s why I’m especially pleased that the optimization of our ad management system and our commitment to brand safety are paying off.

Donald Trump was one of the most famous and also most controversial users to be banned from the network. What is Twitter’s future strategy with regard to hate speech and fake news?

Laurent Buanec: We want to offer a safe platform for constructive debates, which is why we continuously adjust our rules and guidelines and involve and consult the public and external experts before we implement new important aspects. Since last summer, we’ve also given all Twitter users the option to hide replies to tweets so they have more control over the conversation. In addition, users can choose who can reply to their tweets in the first place.

In our view, though, dealing with disinformation also goes beyond distinguishing between “true or false” and thus fact-checking. It’s about having the appropriate context for misleading information to enable people who use Twitter to make their own decisions about the accuracy of information and at the same time avoid the circulation of content that can be damaging outside the platform. We will continue along this path and remain transparent in terms of our guidelines and how we develop and enforce them.

It was also announced that verifications will be brought back soon. Do you have any firsthand tips on how to best get this blue check?

Laurent Buanec: If the person is in one of the six relevant categories (Government / Companies, brands, and organizations / News organizations and journalists / Entertainment / Sports and gaming / Activists, organizers, and other influential individuals) and their Twitter account is complete, the verification process can be easily started directly in the Twitter app via the new verification application in the “Account information” section.

Lots of new features were launched recently: Spaces, Super Follows, Twitter Blue. What has the response been like so far?

The feedback on these new features, intended to help us grow even more innovatively and quickly, as well as on our roadmap in general has been thoroughly positive. We know that our users like to stay in the Twitter environment where they have already built their community and that they trust in terms of feeling safe.

And do you have any other ideas in the pipeline? What can Twitter users look forward to?

Laurent Buanec: For Spaces, we’re planning additional functions, for example “Ticketed Spaces” where organizers will be able to sell tickets for an exclusive space they have created. The possibilities are endless here.

We’ll also be providing everyone who contributes their content to the Twitter conversation with a new way of earning money in the form of a micropayment feature. Through this, Twitter users can send any desired amount to people who they feel create relevant and valuable content. The new feature thus generates a sense of appreciation within the community beyond the usual follows, retweets, and likes.

Another exciting feature will be the aforementioned “Super Follows” where followers pay for additional content.

This year, we’ll be continuing to experiment with new revenue opportunities to further diversify our sales. In recent months, we announced the acquisition of services such as Scroll and Revue, among others. With Revue for example, we want to make it easier for creators to communicate with their newsletter subscribers. At the same time, it is intended to give Twitter users the opportunity to discover new creators and content.

On September 8, Laurent Buanec will be speaking at DMEXCO together with his colleague Büşra Qadir. Make sure you don’t miss Twitter’s session at #DMEXCO21!

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