Twitter is launching tweets that disappear in 24 hours globally, echoing social media sites like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram that already have disappearing posts.
The company said the tweets, which it calls “fleets” because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.
Fleets cannot be retweeted and will not 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.
Twitter tested the feature in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea, before rolling it out globally.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Fleets are a “lower pressure” way to communicate “fleeting thoughts” as opposed to permanent tweets, Twitter design director Joshua Harris and product manager Sam Haveson said in a blog post.
The news came as Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg faced questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about how they handled disinformation surrounding the presidential election.
Both sites have stepped up action taken against disinformation. The two tech chiefs promised legislators last month that they would aggressively guard their platforms from being manipulated by foreign governments or used to incite violence around the election results — and they followed through with high-profile steps that angered Donald Trump and his supporters.
The new Fleets feature is reminiscent of Instagram and Facebook stories and Snapchat’s snaps, which let users post short-lived photos and messages.
Such features are increasingly popular with social media users looking for smaller groups and and more private chats.