Twitter Rolls Out Its Disappearing Tweets, Fleets, Worldwide

The social network is also testing a new Audio Spaces feature

Twitter began beta-testing Fleets in Brazil in March, extending it to India, Italy, Japan and South Korea Twitter

Twitter said Tuesday that it is rolling out its Fleets disappearing tweets feature globally, as well as beginning to test new audio feature Audio Spaces.

The social network began beta-testing Fleets in Brazil in March, extending it to India, Italy, Japan and South Korea since then.

Director of design Joshua Harris and product manager Sam Haveson said in a blog post Tuesday that Fleets will be available globally for Android and iOS in the coming days.

Harris explained the motivation behind Fleets in a press call Monday, saying, “Tweets are public, and they feel really permanent. People feel like a good tweet has a lot of likes, retweets and replies, and that a tweet has to be perfect. People draft tweets and don’t send them. Fleets creates a lower-pressure way for people to join the conversation.”

Twitter head of research Nikkia Reveillac expanded on that theme during the press call, saying, “Life has begun to unfold online in 2020 more than ever before … Tweeting, retweeting and engaging in conversation can be absolutely terrifying. This is true in real life and online. These two things are basically one in the same these days.”

Much like Snaps on Snapchat, Fleets disappear after 24 hours. “People feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter in this ephemeral moment,” Harris said.

They can contain text, tweets, reactions to tweets, photos or videos, and they can be customized with background and text options. Stickers and livestreaming will be added down the line.

Followers can see users’ Fleets at the top of their home timeline, as can anyone who can see that user’s full profile.

If the user behind a Fleet has their direct messages open, anyone can reply to those Fleets. To do so, people can tap on the Fleet to send a DM or emoji to the Fleet creator, and the conversation can then be continued in DMs.

Harris said Twitter is looking into adding further controls to Fleets in the future, including notifying people if their Fleets are captured in screenshots.

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Twitter also began testing Audio Spaces, which staff product designer Maya Gold Patterson described during the press call as a “well-hosted dinner party: You don’t need to know everyone at the party to be comfortable or have a good time, but everyone should feel comfortable at the party.”

The social network is putting a priority on safety for this potential feature, with Patterson saying, “Safety is of the utmost importance. It’s critical that we get safety right in order for people to leverage live audio spaces.”

On that note, the first test group for Audio Spaces will be made up of a very small group of women and people from marginalized backgrounds, as Patterson said Twitter is interested in this group’s feedback on the feature.

“Sometimes 280 characters does not cut it,” she added. “Sometimes tweeting isn’t the right way of communicating at that moment. Hearing the empathy, emotion and nuance in someone’s voice can help people connect at different levels.”

Product lead Kayvon Beykpour said during the press call that Audio Spaces are “an open dialog space where followers or whoever you set as able to join can come in and engage in conversation or just hang out, based on controls set by the user.”

Twitter began testing voice tweets with a limited group of iOS users in June, and the social network quickly came under fire for the feature’s failure to take into account users who are visually impaired, hard of hearing or deaf.


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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