Twitter reveals ‘fleets’: Tweets that disappear like Instagram stories

Users will only be able to react to the posts privately

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 05 March 2020 11:04 GMT
The Twitter logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019
The Twitter logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019

Twitter has revealed a new version of tweets, named "fleets", which disappear after they are posted.

The temporary messages are also intended to be more private, since they cannot be engaged with in public and in direct messages.

It comes as users complain that tweets are too public and permanent. A number of third-party services already offer the ability to delete tweets some time after they are posted, but "fleets" builds that into the app and offers extra ways of keeping messages hidden.

The messages can only be viewed if users navigate to someone's profile and click on their avatar. In that respect, they are most similar to Snapchat and Instagram's highly successful Stories feature, which allows users to post messages that are only available for 24 hours.

The feature is currently being tested in Brazil on Android and iOS but is expected to roll out to other countries if successful, said Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour.

"People often tell us that they don't feel comfortable Tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative (how many Likes & Retweets will this get!?)," he tweeted.

"Fleets are a way to share fleeting thoughts. Unlike Tweets, Fleets disappear after 24 hours and don't get Retweets, Likes, or public replies - people can only react to your Fleets with DMs.

"I know what you're thinking: "THIS SOUNDS A LOT LIKE STORIES!". Yes, there are many similarities with the Stories format that will feel familiar to people.

"There are also a few intentional differences to make the experience more focused on sharing and seeing people's thoughts.

"This is a substantial change to Twitter, so we're excited to learn by testing it (starting with the rollout today in Brazil) and seeing how our customers use it."

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