Sean Burch

Twitter on Tuesday announced it had acquired Scroll, a startup that gives users ad-free access to news sites in exchange for a $5 monthly fee. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Scroll, which was founded in early 2020, says on its website that “no ads means a cleaner internet with no distractions that’s twice as fast and much more private.” The New York City-based company offers publishers that opt-in to its ad blocker a cut of its subscription revenue; partners include The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast, among other outlets.

“Those who create and consume news know that reading — and more broadly, journalism — deserve a better future,” Mike Park, Twitter’s vice president of product, said in a blog post. “Scroll will help us build that future, solving one of the most frustrating parts about reading content online.”

Park added Scroll is a “meaningful addition” that’ll be part of a “subscription offering” Twitter is exploring, although details on Twitter’s subscription features were kept to a minimum.

Scroll’s 13-person team will join Twitter and pause adding new publishers to its platform for the time being.

Twitter has already been exploring new ways to generate more revenue, including a new feature that allows users to charge their followers for exclusive content.

The move comes after Twitter reported last week it added 7 million new daily users — or about 1 million less than the company and Wall Street analysts had projected — during Q1. The new users pushed Twitter to 199 million daily users overall. Twitter’s stock took a hit in the aftermath, falling from about $65 per share to $54.47 per share on Tuesday, essentially wiping out all of Twitter’s 2021 gains up until last week.

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