Twitter Launches Disappearing Tweets Feature Called ‘Fleets’

Twitter launches disappearing tweets tool worldwide- ‘Fleets’ can include text, photos and videos.

Twitter has launched a new feature called ‘fleets’ which are tweets that disappear after 24 hours, similar to the stories feature on Snapchat and Instagram. Twitter has previously announced its plan for these ephemeral tweets, dubbed “fleets”, and tested the feature in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea.

“Some of you tell us that tweeting is uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up retweets and likes,” Twitter’s design director, Joshua Harris, and product manager, Sam Haveson, wrote in a blog post.

“Because they disappear from view after a day, fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings.”

Some microblogging’ Twitter users experimenting with the tool said it had created worrying opportunities for online harassment, like allowing unwanted direct messages. It also allowed fleet authors to tag people who had blocked them. Twitter said it was listening to feedback and working on fixes for such safety concerns.

Fleets can include text, photos and videos. They will be available at the top of users’ home timelines on Twitter and on the sender’s profile. Twitter and other social media companies are under pressure to better police abuses and viral misinformation. Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley said fleets were subject to the same rules as tweets.

Kelley said warnings or labels – which Twitter has started applying to content such as manipulated media and misinformation about civic processes or Covid-19 – could be applied to fleets.

Twitter also confirmed it was working on a live audio feature, called Spaces, that it aimed to test soon. The feature would allow users to talk in public group conversations. It has similarities with Clubhouse, a social platform using voice chat rooms.

“Given all of the potential for abuse within audio spaces, we are going to be making it available first to women and historically marginalised communities,” said Kelley.

Twitter hopes the new feature will help reduce the pressure around tweeting by letting users express more casual thoughts and feelings while also concerning themselves less with saying something profound or racking up likes and retweets. Fleets starts rolling out on November 18 on Android and iOS and should be available for everyone in the coming days, the company says.

Twitter earlier this year also launched a feature for users to tweet recorded voice notes.


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Tony Winterburn

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