CNN+ hashflag is still active on Twitter, site changed to redirect to help article about refunds
CNN+ may have shut down April 28, 2022, but its Twitter hashflag campaign appears to still be active the following week.
Hashflags are special emoji-like icons that Twitter dynamically inserts when certain hashtags are used. Unlike emojis, they aren’t a part of the official Unicode set, and typically require paying a hefty price tag to activate.
Hashflags are often used as part of a marketing campaign — it’s common for TV shows, events, movies and companies to buy them during big episodes, premieres and product launches.
Twitter also inserts hashflags for select holidays, world events and causes, which typically aren’t paid for.
One key difference between a hashflag and an emoji is that Twitter can disable them at any time and they will disappear from all tweets that used the associated hashtag or hashtags automatically.
Including hashflags in embeds would likely require Twitter to use HTML image tags that could become problematic after a hashflag campaign ends.
— NewscastStudio (@NewscastStudio) April 28, 2022
As part of a reported multimillion-dollar marketing effort, it appears CNN paid to have a version of its red plus-sign get inserted alongside the #CNNPlus hashtag (Twitter doesn’t support using the plus sign in hashtags).
The hashflag is still being inserted by Twitter as of midday May 3, 2022, over four days after the network opted to shutter CNN+ two days early.
It’s likely that CNN paid upfront for the hashflag to appear for a set number of days — and it appears there might be a no refund policy.
In addition to the hashflag, some CNN+ personalities were using the plus symbol emoji ➕ (U+2795) in tweets that will remain visible even after the hashflag campaign wraps.
Thanks to multiple streaming services using the “plus” branding, the same emoji also appears on tweets about other services — who have also purchased hashflag campaigns featuring their own interpretation of the plus sign, typically around their own launches.
Meanwhile, cnnplus.com and plus.cnn.com was changed late April 28 to redirect to a CNN help center article at https://help.cnn.com/US/Answer/Detail/000001066 that explains the service shutdown and how to get a refund.
CNN never shut down its streaming TV Everywhere CNNgo page at go.cnn.com despite previously announced plans to sunset the brand and merge the feature into CNN+ but still only allowing access to the CNN, HLN and CNN International linear feeds to those with eligible pay TV accounts — leaving those who only paid for CNN+ unable to use the feature.
The page continues to be operational and showing the CNNgo name as of this writing.
A source tells NewscastStudio that CNN expects to continue offering TVE but the future of the branding and user experience are still up in the air.