Twitter has unveiled a beta function that allows companies using the micro-blogging service to authenticate who can tweet for them.

The feature, dubbed Contributors, is going into a beta release to a small number of users this week, according to Anamitra Banerji, a product team member at Twitter.

Banerji said in a blog that Twitter engineers have been working on several business-related features, and Contributors is the one closest to being ready for use.

"This feature is one of several in development; some of them will be visible to regular users and some of them will not," said Banerji.

"Our goal at this time is to get basic feedback from business users and ecosystem partners... After we kick the tires a bit, we'll do a full launch to all business users and ecosystem partners."

It's not clear if Twitter plans on this feature becoming a money-maker for the company.

Last September, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone reportedly said that the company expected to add revenue-generating features to the microblogging site in the fourth quarter of this year.

The announcement came after a year or more of industry watchers and financial pundits loudly wondering when Twitter would find a business model and start making some money.

Stone, speaking last September, said the company is building an "analytics dashboard" designed to help businesses keep track of what is being tweeted about them. The dashboard is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Twitter did not respond to requests for information about when a "revenue-generating" feature, like the analytics dashboard, might be released and if they'll make their end-of-year deadline.

The new Contributors feature is set up to enable businesses to designate other Twitter users - employees or consultants for example - to tweet on the company's behalf.

If someone tweets for the company, the tweet will appear to come from the company but also will have the individual's byline, giving users a better picture of who they're listening to.

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