Inspired by the Stories feature found on Snapchat and Facebook, Twitter launched its very own take known as Fleets back in November 2020. Needless to say, the company had high expectations of its new “vanishing tweets” function, as its counterparts on other rivaling platforms have been well received by users. However, after about eight months since its debut, the social media giant has decided to retire the feature altogether.
The reason behind the cancellation of Fleets is due to its low usage, Twitter explained. “We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” said company vice president of product Ilya Brown in a statement. “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.”
Twitter has been actively introducing even newer additions and improvements to its platform in order to stay relevant to users – especially those that are actively using new and trending features on other social media. These include the recently introduced Clubhouse-like live audio chat rooms known as Spaces, as well as its new Twitter Blue premium subscription that offer exclusive features not available to regular users.
we're removing Fleets on August 3, working on some new stuff
we're sorry or you're welcome
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 14, 2021
“If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances,” Brown added. “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.”
The retirement of Fleets also comes as a surprise, as the platform had recently started testing full-screen ads on Fleets – again, taking a cue from the Stories feature from its rivals. Twitter noted that the inclusion of advertisements was an experiment, with several different brands contributing ad images or video clips that appear for 30-seconds between each post. While unconfirmed by the company, there’s a chance that it might carry over these full-screen ad pop-ups in other parts of the platform in the future.
That being said, not all that have been introduced on Fleets are lost. Twitter confirmed that sub-features such as text formatting and GIF stickers will be carried over to the traditional tweet composer function on its platform.
Short-lived and far less popular than expected, it is quite unlikely that Fleets will be missed by Twitter’s user base. In fact, as seen in the announcement of its retirement (embedded in the beginning of this article), even the social media giant itself seemed unsatisfied with the feature. Fleets is slated to vanish from the platform on 3 August this year.