Twitter’s lengthy experiment with disappearing tweets has come to an end, after the platform confirmed it was shutting down its ‘Fleets’ feature.
Twitter had called its disappearing tweets ‘Fleets’ due to their fleeting nature, as they only last for 24 hours. They are similar to the vanishing posts on Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Uptake of Fleets seems to have been somewhat limited, although some celebrities such as Ryan Reynolds occasionally made use of them.
Twitter had first experimented with fleets in March 2020, when tested the feature in Brazil, as well as a few other selected countries such as Italy, India, and South Korea.
Then in November 2020 it launched its disappearing tweets to all its users around the world.
But now Twitter has confirmed that Fleets are to disappear for good.
“We had big hopes for Fleets, but now it’s time to say goodbye and take flight with other ideas. Starting August 3, Fleets will no longer be available,” Twitter support tweeted.
“We had planned for Fleets to help people feel comfortable joining the conversation in a low-pressure way, but it turns out Fleets were mainly used by those Tweeting the most,” it added. “So now we’re ready to explore other ways for people to share on Twitter.”
Twitter expanded upon its reasons for the closure of fleets in a blog post entitled ‘Goodbye, Fleets.’
“We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts,” wrote Ilya Brown, head of product, brand & video ads.
“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” said Brown. “But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped. Because of this, on August 3, Fleets will no longer be available on Twitter.”
“Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others,” wrote Brown.
“We’re evolving what Twitter is, and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation,” Brown wrote. “A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out. We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works, and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances.”
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