Call it Black Flight.
A contingency of Black Twitter users has announced the intent to join a new Black-owned social media app in the wake of a new policy on Twitter that limits the number of tweets any given user can see.
It appears that a growing number of people, including a handful of folks with major name recognition, have already made the migration from Twitter to Spill, the social media app that was started by two Black men who were fired after billionaire Elon Musk purchased Twitter.
Ironically, “Spill” was the top trending topic on Twitter on Monday morning following a weekend of its name being bandied about among viral tweets in response to Twitter’s new policy Musk announced on Saturday.
“To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits,” Musk tweeted before listing the new limitations: “Verified accounts are limited to reading 6000 posts/day,” while “Unverified accounts” have been limited “to 600 posts/day.” The newest unverified accounts will not be able to read more than 300 tweets daily.
The backlash was swift with a number of accounts suggesting that the motivation behind the announcement was to increase the number of people paying a monthly fee to have their accounts verified. The implication was that Musk’s policy to charge $8 per month for an account’s blue check verification had not been as efficacious as he thought it would be.
While opposition to that plan was no secret, Musk’s announcement about the tweet-reading limits seemingly was the proverbial straw that broke Black Twitter’s back and provided the influential bloc of social media users with the incentive to join a different platform.
The fact that Spill is Black-owned certainly doesn’t hurt.
What is Spill?
Spill is a social media app that is in the beta phase but has already arrived in the Apple Store. Only available to iOS users as of now, Spill was founded by two Black men. Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell, Twitter’s former Global Head of Social and Editorial for more than three years, is listed as Spill’s co-founder and CEO. DeVaris Brown, who worked as a Product Manager Lead at Twitter for more than a year, is Spill’s CEO.
Digiday explained Spill’s “meme forward” approach that contextualizes the app’s name:
The features are full of tea references related to both leaves and gossip. When a user uploads a spill — the equivalent of a post — the app tells them it’s “brewing your tea,” and a “spill board” that features the “hottest 10 spills” based on engagement volume. There are also hashtag tickers, ways to comment and multiple color options that people can choose. Spills are shown in reverse chronological order — just like Twitter — but also have vertical and horizontal scroll tools.
People interested in signing up are being encouraged to enter their names on a waitlist. Some people who are already on Spill are touting codes and special invitations, similar to the initial rollout of Facebook, a marketing tactic that increases brand awareness amid growing demand for a new product.
As an example of the kind of momentum that Spill has been enjoying, especially over the past weekend, filmmaker Ava DuVernay has joined the new app, according to a tweet by writer April Reign, an influential figure on Twitter and an adviser for Spill. DuVernay previously had an outsized following on Twitter but, like many others, deleted her account once Musk bought the app.
Early reviews have been positive for Spill, if tweets about the new app are any indication.
“I’m having a good time on Spill. Feels like the first day of school trying to figure out where your classes are but the vibes are great,” YouTube influencer Kevin “KevOnStage” Fredericks tweeted on Sunday.
Others on Twitter expressed similar sentiments about Spill.
Will Spill ever reach the heights of Twitter? Only time will tell. However, it is clear that Black Twitter users are actively searching for a new social media platform and are willing to try nearly anything, so long as it isn’t Twitter any longer.
To find out more information about Spill, visit its website by clicking here.
Black-owned social media
To be sure, Spill is far from the first or the only Black-owned social media properties. Lest we forget that BlackPlanet, the OG of Black social media websites, not only still exists but is also actively accepting sign-ups for more people to join its thriving community of Black excellence.
As one of the first social media hubs before the term truly existed, BlackPlanet — which is owned and operated by NewsOne’s parent company Urban One Inc. — was launched in 2001 by Omar Wasow and Benjamin Sun. It quickly established itself early on as a gathering place for Black people looking to connect with their communities on a variety of fronts. With Twitter apparently inching closer to its self-destructing demise, BlackPlanet remains inviting users to reboot their old accounts or create new ones by clicking here.
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