Social media firmhas reportedly considered selling usernames to generate income as its new owner Elon Musk looks for new avenues to boost the company’s business.
Since at least December 2022, Twitter employees have been discussing selling some usernames for the service, The New York Times reported. These include engineers debating about running online auctions where people can bid for the usernames.
All Twitter accounts have usernames or handles, which are in the form of words, numbers or other characters that come after the ‘@’ sign. For instance, Elon Musk’s username is @elonmusk.
Although the micro-blogging platform is debating selling usernames, it is unclear if the project will move forward and if the plan affects all usernames or only a subset, the report noted.
YourStory could not independently verify the report. Twitter did not respond to queries sent by YourStory at the time of publication.
Last month, the Twitter chief mentioned that the company “will soon start freeing the name space of 1.5 billion accounts,” and added that “these are obvious account deletions with no tweets & no log in for years.”
Twitter’s username squatting policy prohibits selling and buying of usernames and states, “attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension.”
Still, certain unique usernames can be of interest to some people or brands and could fetch thousands of dollars in black markets. In 2020, a teenager was arrested after hacking Twitter to obtain user names to sell, compromising the accounts of Musk, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates, among others.
Last October, Telegram said that it would allow people to auction their usernames.
After taking ownership of the social media company, Musk has tried to reduce the firm’s expenses and exploring new avenues to generate revenue, including its verified subscription service Twitter Blue. In the past, Twitter relied mainly on advertising revenue, however, it is experiencing a sharp downturn in ad revenue.
Moreover, the company has laid off about half of its workforce, and several other employees have quit post Musk’s acquisition.
Edited by Kanishk Singh