Twitter adds 'fleets' that last 24 hours

Todd Spangler
·2-min read

Twitter says it is launching fleets - as in "fleeting thoughts" or posts that disappear from the platform after 24 hours - to users globally starting this week.

First popularised by Snapchat Stories in 2013, the feature has been copied by other platforms including Instagram and Facebook.

Starting on Tuesday, Twitter will make fleets available to select accounts before rolling the feature out more widely to everyone.

The company first launched a test of fleets in Brazil in March before expanding the feature to India, South Korea, Italy and Japan.

Unlike tweets, Twitter fleets cannot be retweeted, shared, liked or publicly commented on.

Twitter's goal with fleets is to boost the overall time users spend on the social service - by making people comfortable with sharing content more spontaneously.

The company has found many users, especially those new to the service, are fearful of posting permanent tweets which, even if they're deleted, can remain cached or cross-posted on third-party sites or search engines.

"Instead of tweeting, people follow along silently or just lurk. We see people draft tweets and don't send them," Joshua Harris, director of design at Twitter, told reporters on a call.

Fleets create "a lower-pressure way for people to join the conversation," Harris said.

In initial tests of fleets, Twitter users engaged more using the 24-hour expiring format than they would have using conventional tweets.

"The fact that fleets disappear from Twitter after 24 hours will spark a new wave of creativity and engagement tactics," said J.D. Tuminski, VP of digital marketing at Def Jam Recordings.

"Fleets adds a new tool to the social arsenal for our artists, enhancing their ability to share creative content on-the-go, post hot takes in real-time, highlight their fans, and more."

Twitter fleets can quote tweets with reactions and include text, links, videos with a 30-second limit, GIFs or single photos.

Fleets will appear at the top of Twitter account pages and are visible to followers but they don't show up in the timeline.