April Fool: Secret gvt plan to tax Twitter

This story was published on the morning of April Fool’s Day.

Twitter’s development in Australia is facing a major setback, with a secret Government plan to introduce a Tweet Tax, Mumbrella can reveal.  

Mumbrella understands that the government is planning to tax Twitter users by the number of messages they send, at a rate of 1c per tweet. This will then be multiplied by the number of followers they have.

An insider at digital minister Stephen Conroy’s office told Mumbrella: “The stuff with Fake Stephen Conroy was the final straw. Although we pretended not to be bothered at the time, it put Twitter on our hit list. Now we have a great way of raising revenue from some of our biggest critics.”

For Australia’s most prolific Twitterers, the charge would make their activities virtually unaffordable.

For instance, the notorious fake Stephen Conroy profile – which appears to have triggered the new tax – has 2,502 followers. So every message posted would cost the author just over $25.

The insider told Mumbrella: “We also plan to backdate the charge to the start of the last tax year.” With 862 updates, that means that the man behind fake Conroy, Leslie Nassar, could face a bill of $21,550. However, the insider told Mumbrella: “For most of that time he was working for Telstra, so we’ll just send the bill to them.”

Meanwhile some of Australia’s other prolific Twitterers will also face giant bills. But the government is confident that there will not be a major public outcry because most of them work in marketing and media anyway.

“If it works, we’ll also extend it to FaceBook and MySpace,” revealed the insider. “With Facebook, the Whopper Sacrifice established a benchmark of ten friends per Whopper.  At around AU$4 for a Whopper, we’ll be charging 40c per friend per month. For MySpace, it’s going to be even easier. We’ll charge each user 1c for every grammatical error that appears on their friends’ messages on their page. We’ll be back in surplus before you know it.”

And he admitted: “We did think about taxing newspapers instead, but we’re looking for a revenue stream that will last beyond 2012.”

A spokesman for the Internet and Interactive Integrated Applications and Advertisers of Australia (the IIIAAA) warned that the move could hold back the development of digital marketing in the country. CEO Ralf Pooli told Mumbrella:

“Combined with the Internet filter, the monitoring of this will slow download speeds so dramatically that we fear the words will start going backwards up the wires. Mind you, it won’t be all bad if it stops people telling us what they’ve just had for lunch.”


  1. Lynchy
    1 Apr 09
    8:01 am

  2. Good one, Tim. Loved this line from the insider: “We did think about taxing newspapers instead, but we’re looking for a revenue stream that will last beyond 2012.” Hilarious. But remember the govt monitors every blog so this idea is now on their radar and could actually happen.

  3. Fake Stephen Conroy
    1 Apr 09
    8:35 am

  4. I understand that Twitter are integrating support for PayPal tip-jars on a per-user basis to help offset the cost.

  5. nextbrett
    1 Apr 09
    9:14 am

  6. Smiles. What day is it?
    Wouldn’t surprise me Timbrella

  7. rob
    1 Apr 09
    9:18 am

  8. hahahaha

  9. JamesW
    1 Apr 09
    9:54 am

  10. Did you hear about Swann’s Saxophone quartet: Sweet Sax. Could that be the source of confusion here?

  11. heather ann snodgrass
    1 Apr 09
    10:24 am

  12. lolofl. well played, sir.

  13. Adam Joseph
    1 Apr 09
    10:35 am

  14. Nice anagram … CEO “Ralf Pooli” indeed!

  15. Pam
    1 Apr 09
    10:58 am

  16. Just as long as their lunch doesn’t start coming out backwards, we should be able to kind of cope with the words.

  17. Kimberley
    1 Apr 09
    11:05 am

  18. I admit….You had me for a nanosecond.

  19. Stuart Sheridan
    1 Apr 09
    11:06 am

  20. Nice April Fools article. Should get some readership outa that by the gullible (i.e. the Witchery & Stephen Conroy fans)

  21. Wisey
    1 Apr 09
    11:17 am

  22. must have been thinking about this one all week….

  23. Mal
    1 Apr 09
    11:22 am

  24. Haha nice one.

  25. Tony@tacticalTV
    1 Apr 09
    11:34 am

  26. Don’t some cultures advise against uttering bad thoughts lest the gods hear them?

  27. Jemma Enright
    1 Apr 09
    11:35 am

  28. Happy April 1st Mumbrella

  29. mark abay
    1 Apr 09
    11:45 am

  30. Brilliiiant – Especially the newspaper 2012 comment!

  31. Zoe Warne
    1 Apr 09
    12:49 pm

  32. Pinch and a punch, nice one guys :)

  33. Sally
    1 Apr 09
    12:54 pm

  34. I love it. Have already been very well had this morning so had my wits about me by the time I got to this April Fools doozy. Thanks. Wish April 1st was every day. Lots of laughs to be had…

  35. joe
    1 Apr 09
    2:35 pm

  36. I had a Subway Pizza sub for luncH! yay twittered that one for free!


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