Twitter Launches Stories-Like 'Fleets,' Self-Deleting Tweets, Worldwide

Twitter launched 'Fleets,' a new self-deleting way to post temporary tweets, not unlike Stories.
Brad Bergan

Twitter declared the global launch of "Fleets" on Tuesday — short-lived tweets initially announced earlier in 2020 and tested worldwide — according to a blog post on the company's website.

With "Fleets," any Twitter user — regardless of location, follower-count, or verification status — may use a disappearing message feature placed at the top of one's timeline, in a row of Instagram Stories-like bubbles.


Twitter launches 'Fleets,' disappearing tweets, globally

With "Fleets," Twitter hopes to lower the pressure on users who feel compelled to tweet like it's a permanent record only saved with astronomical retweets and likes. Fleets are designed to relieve this stress, and enable users to post casual thoughts and feelings.

Fleets go live today on iOS and Android, and should reach everyone in the next few days, said the company in its blog post.

No one may retweet a 'Fleet'

"Through our tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, we learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation — we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter," explained Joshua Haris — product director — and Sam Haveson, product manager — in the blog post. "Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what's on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings."

In short, Fleets is a Stories copy, pooling all the best strategies applied on Snapchat and Instagram. Users can share a text, reply to other people's tweets, or upload videos with the same background color and overlaid text styles available on other messaging apps. But every fleet message will vanish after 24 hours are up.

Users can also reply to fleets via tapping and sending a direct message or emoji to the creator — which will open a DM conversation not unlike how replies work for stories on Instagram.

Twitter also said it would introduce live broadcasting and stickers in the near future — but no one may retweet a fleet, The Verge reports.

Twitter testing audio-based social networking feature

This comes on the heels of another announcement from Twitter on Monday, where the company said it aims to test an audio-based social networking feature designed like Clubhouse — a controversial app.

Twitter's forthcoming audio "Spaces" will enable users to gather for live conversations with either a single or several other people.

While it's still in a private, invite-only testing phase, Clubhouse has seen numerous high-profile incidents involving moderation failure — including one New York Times reporter, and another one later ascribed with racial bias, reports Tech Crunch.

Twitter's 'Fleets' won't save users from 'getting ratioed,' or 'canceled'

As of writing, Twitter says there will be no alerts if someone screenshots a fleet, which means anyone can simply tweet a copy of a fleet. Additionally, anyone who follows a user may see their fleets upon visiting their profile — if it isn't automatically posted at the top of the timeline.

While Fleets obviously won't fix every perceived cause of outrage on the social media platform — nor will it prevent what's called "getting ratioed," or piled-on, or canceled, and so on. But it at least shows Twitter is interested in seeming to care about the interests and self-interests of users on the platform — which is good or bad, depending on the user.

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