Twitter Inc., which helped rewrite political discourse, is now venturing into the world of campaign finance, introducing a way for candidates to solicit donations through social media posts.
The company Tuesday said it had partnered with Square Inc., a mobile payment company, to give U.S. political candidates a way to collect donations through tweets. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and Square, is running both companies after taking an interim CEO job at Twitter, making their cooperation on the donations tool convenient.
"This is the fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising, in real time, on the platform where Americans are already talking about the 2016 election and the issues they are passionate about," Jenna Golden, head of Twitter's political advertising sales, said in a post on the company's website.
The new service comes after a U.S. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2012 that cleared the way for donations by text message and as candidates seek ways to increase the number of small donations from supporters.
Twitter's service allows a user to select a donation amount, pay with a debit card and submit information required by the FEC. Square charges a 1.9 percent transaction fee, according to its website. Twitter doesn't take a cut of the donation, according to the social media company. Campaigns can pay to promote tweets soliciting donations to specific users.
"When people have conversations about politics, they have them on Twitter. It’s what voters learn and share in these conversations that routinely motivates political action," Golden said. "That’s why we’re making it easier for Twitter users to actively support candidates and causes."
Presidential campaigns are already using the service. Democrat Bernie Sanders' campaign, for example, tweeted Tuesday morning, "We have the momentum. Let's keep it going!" and provided a link to contribute.