Twitter Fleets, an Instagram Stories-like feature that disappears in 24 hours, is now rolling out globally. The feature echoes social media sites like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram that already have disappearing posts. The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls ‘Fleets’ because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay new users’ concerns who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets. Twitter started testing this feature in June.
Fleets can’t be retweeted, and they won’t have “likes.” People can respond to them, but the replies show up as direct messages to the original tweeter, not as a public response, turning any back-and-forth into a private conversation instead of a public discussion.
To watch the Fleet posted by others, you will have to swipe upwards; however, you will have to swipe horizontally to see the next person’s fleet. There is a “sticker” like an option in Fleets called “Reply by DM” to let users reply through direct message. In addition to this, you will also be able to reply to these fleets by emoji.
Twitter tested the feature in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, before rolling it out globally.
Fleets are a “lower pressure” way to communicate “fleeting thoughts” instead of permanent tweets, Twitter executives Joshua Harris, design director, and Sam Haveson, product manager, said in a blog post.
The news comes the same day Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questions from a Senate Judiciary Committee about how they handled disinformation surrounding the presidential election. Both sites have stepped up action taken against disinformation. Zuckerberg and Dorsey promised lawmakers last month that they would aggressively guard their platforms against being manipulated by foreign governments or used to incite violence around the election results — and they followed through with high-profile steps that angered Trump and his supporters.
The new “Fleets” feature is reminiscent of Instagram and Facebook “stories” and Snapchat’s snaps, allowing users to post short-lived photos and messages. Such features are increasingly popular with social media users looking for smaller groups and more private chats.