What is Twitter ‘Fleets’ and how will it change the platform?

17 Nov 2020

Image: © itchaznong/Stock.adobe.com

Following in the footsteps of other social media giants, Twitter is introducing a 24-hour post feature called ‘Fleets’.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are among a number of social media platforms that have introduced a feature allowing for posts that disappear after 24 hours. Now, Twitter is rolling out a feature called ‘Fleets’ that does a very similar thing.

In a company blog post, Twitter described the new feature as a “low-pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening”. Following tests in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea, the social network said it found that people were more likely to join a conversation with Fleets, while new users found it easier as a starting point for sharing their tweets.

Because the messages last no longer than 24 hours, users felt “more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions and feelings”.

‘Makes sense for Twitter too’

Users can share text, tweets, photos or videos and customise Fleets with various background and text options. To share a tweet in Fleets, the user has to tap the ‘share’ icon at the bottom of the tweet and then tap ‘Share in Fleet’.

“This format has been around for a while and we’ve realised that it makes sense for Twitter too,” said Twitter design director Joshua Harris and Twitter product manager Sam Haveson. “In the coming days, everyone globally will have Fleets on Twitter for iOS and Android.”

According to The Verge, Twitter said anyone who follows you will be able to see your Fleets at the top of their timeline, and the feature won’t include an indicator if someone has taken a screenshot of your message.

Fleets aims to give users the option to create less permanent Twitter posts. While the platform allows for the user to delete a post, it’s not possible to edit them.

Last year, Twitter said that it had no immediate plans to introduce an edit button. Speaking at the time, the company’s product lead, Kayvon Beykpour, said it may be something the company would consider building at some point, but it’s “not anywhere” near the top of its priority list.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic