After attempts to turn Twitter into a full-fledged subscription platform have failed, Twitter owner Elon Musk has his sights set on turning the microblogging platform into a full-fledged video service.
Twitter users have long been able to upload short, minutes-long videos. But, since Musk came along and acquired Twitter, longform has become a priority on a platform where shortform content reigns supreme. Twitter users that subscribe to Twitter Blue for $8 per month can now write tweets 10,000 characters long, far beyond that of the normal 280 character limit.
And, as of Thursday, Twitter Blue subscribers can now upload long videos too. How long? two hours-long.
That’s a big upgrade from the two minutes and 20 seconds that non-subscribed Twitter users can upload. That’s also double that of the 60 minutes previously provided to Twitter Blue subscribers.
The maximum video resolution that users can upload is 1080p and, according to Musk, the file must be no larger than 8GB.
So, what will users do with this new feature? It appears piracy is the number one use case thus far.
One Twitter Blue subscriber immediately uploaded the film Shrek the Third in full. They didn’t even try to keep it on the down-low either, uploading it right in the replies of Elon Musk’s tweet. The tweet featuring the full-length feature film garnered hundreds of thousands of impressions and tens of thousands of interactions.
Roughly an hour and a half after it was uploaded and tweeted out, Twitter finally removed the video and replaced it with a message stating that “this media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.” It’s not clear whether anyone was able to enjoy the 93-minute movie in its entirety, but it appears to have been possible.
This isn’t the first time Twitter’s new longer videos feature has been utilized for piracy either.
Just a few weeks ago, Twitter users began to upload copies of the newly released Super Mario Bros. Movie. Users had to upload the movie in shorter, one-hour maximum chunks prior to today. Now, they can pretty much fit an entire feature within one tweet with the new two-hour limit.
Other than those looking to pirate movies, it’s unclear who exactly the target for these two-hour-long video uploads might be. Other platforms that allow longform video uploads, like YouTube and Facebook, provide ad-revenue sharing monetization programs for creators so they can be paid for their content. While Musk said he was launching a general monetization program for creators back in February, he has yet to actually pull through with such a program. It simply does not yet exist.
Aside from that, Twitter really is just not made for longform video content. There’s no standalone video player. Videos simply exist as an embed in a tweet. Users can’t view other content while watching because unlike YouTube and Facebook, Twitter does not offer a mini-player.
Furthermore, Twitter is lacking other features for longform videos too. For example, Twitter does not remember where a user left off on a video for future viewing like other platforms do. In addition, video quality on Twitter is just really bad. Even Twitter Blue subscribers who tend to be Musk fans have frequently complained about it. No matter how long you pause a Twitter video in hopes that it would load more of the clip, certain parts in the video will always maintain a lower-quality as if it were perpetually buffering.
And, based on the piracy, and how long these pirated videos actually stay up for, it doesn’t seem like Twitter has much of a copyright detection system going on either.
Maybe Musk will have this all figured out by the time Tucker Carlson officially launches his new show on Twitter.