Twitter Fleets: New feature adds tweets that disappear after 24 hours

Fleets act similarly to Stories on Instagram and Facebook

Adam Smith
Tuesday 17 November 2020 14:37 GMT
(Getty Images)

Twitter is rolling out a feature similar to Instagram Stories and Snapchat where people can share posts that disappear within 24 hours.

The move is a major evolution from the social network's core purpose, which sees tweets kept on an individual's profile for all to see unless they proactively decide to delete them.

Fleets - a take on the term fleeting moments - is designed to help users feel more comfortable participating on the platform in a "lower pressure way" without the need to worry about retweets and likes, the firm said.

People can choose to post text, reactions to tweets with the tweet attached, photos or videos, as well as the ability to customise them with background and text options.

Followers can reply to Fleets by sending a private Direct Messages, but only if they follow each other or the account holder has their Direct Messages set to open.

Fleets from accounts a person follows will appear along the top their home timeline.

Plans are already in motion to add stickers and live broadcasting.

The tech giant first announced it was testing such a feature in March, with a trial in Brazil, later expanding to Italy, India, and South Korea.

Twitter executives admit the format "may sound familiar", referring to Snapchat who spearheaded the art of disappearing messages and Instagram which followed suit in 2016 with Stories.

"We've learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they're saying lives just for a moment in time," said Twitter's Joshua Harris, director of design, and Sam Haveson, product manager, in a blog post.

"In the coming days, everyone globally will have Fleets on Twitter for iOS and Android."

While Fleets acts, and works, similarly to the Stories function which has been introduced to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp in the form of its Statuses, users will still be able to screenshot Fleets without the uploader knowing.

Twitter said that it will be looking into adding the ability to tell when another user has screenshotted a Fleet in future.

Asked whether Fleets is a response to “cancel culture” on its platform, Twitter said that its goal was to “reduce pressure overall” for tweeting and that there may "be indirect positive responses".

It is currently unclear how Twitter will moderate Fleets, should they be used to share information that goes against its policies.

Fleets had been previously tested in Brazil in March before being rolled out globally.

As well as Fleets, Twitter is introducing “Spaces”, which will allow for group chats via voice recordings, similar to its voice tweet function.

Currently, that function is being rolled out to women and people of colour before reaching Twitter’s wider user base. If it proves successful, the feature will be coming later this year.

With access to Spaces, users will be able to see who is part of the group conversation and who is talking. The person who hosts the Space will be able to control who can or cannot participate.

It will be possible to join a Space from a Direct Message or a public tweet, with the function acting similarly to Clubhouse, a US voice-based social media site. 

Additional reporting by Press Association

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