Twitter introduces disappearing Fleets feature

Fleets allow users to post temporary tweets to their profile.

November 18, 2020, 8:13 AM

Twitter has the Fleets.

Twitter rolled out a new feature Tuesday that allows users to post temporary tweets, or Fleets, to their profile. The posts disappear after 24 hours, similar to the "Stories" feature on Instagram and Snapchat.

Karissa Bell, a senior editor at Engadget covering social media, says one reason Twitter would want to introduce Fleets is to address the comparatively large contingent of Twitter users who only rarely post on the platform, or don't post at all.

"Twitter seems to think that this is because maybe there's too much pressure associated with a permanent tweet, or people don't know what to say, and if you have something that is ephemeral then maybe it can remove some of that pressure," Bell said.

A 2019 report from the Pew Research Center finds a majority of users rarely tweet, and that 10% of Twitter's most active users are responsible for 80% of all tweets in the U.S.

PHOTO: FILE - This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app icon on a mobile phone in Philadelphia.
FILE - This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app icon on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Twitter is launching tweets that disappear in 24 hours called “Fleets” globally, echoing social media sites like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram that already have disappearing posts. The company said Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, the ephemeral tweets, which it calls “fleets," are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.
Matt Rourke/AP

Twitter said some users have reported that tweeting is "uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there's so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes," it said in a statement. The company calls Fleets a "lower pressure way" for users to post on the platform.

Bell says time will tell how successful Fleets are when it comes to boosting engagement on Twitter. However, she adds the success of Instagram Stories points to a larger trend in how people use social platforms.

"It's just kind of become a new paradigm of how people are expected to post on social media," Bell said.

Hear ABC News Radio's Alex Stone report on Twitter's fleeting tweets:

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