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Fleets on Twitter are Expiring for Good

'We're sorry or you're welcome,' says Twitter in a casual goodbye.
by Ara Eugenio
Jul 14, 2021
Photo/s: Twitter

In a fleeting moment for Fleets, much like the idea behind its design, Twitter is shutting down its ephemeral tweet format eight months after its launch due to low usage, the platform said Thursday. 

Beginning Aug. 3, the row of icons containing full screen tweets from people you follow will cease to exist from the top of your Twitter timeline. 

"We're removing Fleets on Aug. 3, working on some new stuff. We're sorry or you're welcome," Twitter said in a casual post.

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Fleets had been the platform's attempt at "stories" disappearing after 24 hours, a posting format invented by Snapchat and further popularized by Instagram. 

But since its launch in November of last year, there hasn't been much gain in terms of usage, Twitter told trade publication The Verge. It wasn't beneficial enough for the platform's competitive position in the business of stirring online conversations. 

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, Twitter’s vice president of product, said. 

“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," he said. 

While Fleets is making a sudden exit, Twitter said it will retain Spaces, its live audio chat rooms which are also be found at the top of the timeline. Since the feature's launch in May, Clubhouse, the audio social platform upon which Spaces was designed to compete with, is reportedly seeing massive drop in usage. 

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Twitter's recent experiments are proof of its struggle to increase user participation in the face of increased competition, The Verge said. 

“If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances. We’ll continue to build new ways to participate in conversations, listening to feedback and changing direction when there may be a better way to serve people using Twitter," Brown, the product VP said.


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