Twitter Launches Disappearing ‘Fleets’ Globally After Tests In Select Markets

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

After conducting tests in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea earlier this year, Twitter has officially launched a disappearing messaging function called Fleets across its global platform.

In a blog post, Twitter Design Director Joshua Harris and Product Manager Sam Haveson wrote that the aim of the new option is to make users less self-conscious. “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,” they wrote. “To help people feel more comfortable, we’ve been working on a lower pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening. Today, we’re launching Fleets so everyone can easily join the conversation in a new way – with their fleeting thoughts.”

Similar to the “stories” on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, Fleets can be posted to followers before disappearing within 24 hours. They can’t be retweeted or shared and, at launch, are part of the direct messaging function. Text, reactions to tweets, photos or videos can be sent as Fleets and the company said stickers and live broadcasting will become available in Fleets.

Twitter users’ followers can see their Fleets at the top of their home timeline, and anyone who can see a user’s full profile can see their Fleets as well.

Through the tests, Harris and Haveson said, “We learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation – we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter. Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind.”

The company is adding features and making adjustments in order to stimulate user growth, which slowed in the third quarter after a boom earlier in the year. Twitter last month reported adding 1 million users in the third quarter, compared with 20 million climbing aboard in the second quarter, a slowdown the company blamed on COVID-19 patterns.

One key metric showed improvement that could be traced to changes in the user experience. Average monetizable daily active usage came in at 187 million, an increase of 29% from the prior-year quarter. The company said the upswing was “primarily driven by global conversation around current events and ongoing product improvements.”


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