RIYADH: Twitter’s live audio conversation feature Spaces is being rolled out to all accounts with 600 or more followers.
Although the move will mean that only those with 600-plus followers will be allowed to host a session, any other users – regardless of the number of followers – will be able to join in.
Twitter first introduced Spaces last year as a test feature. At the time, design director, Maya Gold Patterson, said: “While voice tweets allow people to share what’s on their mind to broadcast their voice to start a conversation, we imagined a live audio space to be a place where people could communicate directly with one other person or a group of people.”
Now, Twitter has rolled out the feature with new updates based on feedback received during the testing period. The decision to allow only those with 600-plus followers to host Spaces was based on the learning that the accounts were more likely to have a good experience hosting live conversations because of their existing audience.
Twitter has previously been accused of failing to moderate content on its platform and some critics have expressed concerns that the new feature may make it even harder.
But a Twitter spokesperson told Arab News: “Protecting the health of the public conversation is important to us and something we prioritize with everything we build. We want people to feel safe and in control while using Spaces.”
Spaces has been designed to put both hosts and speakers in control and includes built-in safety mechanisms such as allowing hosts to mute speakers and take away their mic or remove them from the Space completely.
Hosts will also be able to mute all speakers at the same time and a new management page has been introduced for easier hosting.
The spokesperson pointed out that Twitter rules applied to Spaces. “Incoming reports will be reviewed by our team who will evaluate for violations of the rules.”
Twitter will retain an audio copy as well as captions, if turned on, for 30 days to check for rule breaches. If a Space is found to have broken regulations, Twitter will keep its copies for an additional 90 days to give people time to appeal if they believe there was a mistake.
“We’re exploring more proactive detection, including automated scanning for problematic content,” the spokesperson added.
Spaces’ new features include allowing users to schedule and set reminders in order to keep track of upcoming sessions as well as co-host conversations. The platform is also working on providing better accessibility features including improvements to live captions.
In the coming weeks, Twitter will launch Ticketed Spaces, which is a way for hosts to get monetary support for the content they create. Hosts can set the prices and number of tickets. Initially, only a limited group will be able to host Ticketed Spaces and more details on criteria are yet to be released.
Twitter said that hosts would keep the “majority of the revenue” while the company would take a “small amount.”
“Currently, we are working on Ticketed Spaces, which both individuals and brands and advertisers will have access to,” added the Twitter spokesperson. However, there are currently no plans for monetization for brands and advertisers.
Along with the features, Twitter will also be making Spaces more visible on the platform through a purple bubble on top of users’ timelines when someone they follow starts or speaks in a Space.
Spaces are at present available to all iOS and Android Twitter users in the Middle East.