Twitter’s disappearing posts feature, Fleets, fails to catch user attention

by | Jul 16, 2021

Microblogging platform, Twitter, on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, announced that its disappearing posts feature, Fleets, will no longer be available on the platform. 

Ilya Brown, Twitter Head of Products and Video ads, said in a blog post that the feature will be scrapped on August 3, 2021. 

Launched on August 17, 2020, Fleet was Twitter’s way of getting those who don’t tweet regularly to do so.  

According to a tweet by Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s Head of Consumer Product, on March 4, 2020,  “We’ve been listening to this feedback and working to create new capabilities that address some of the anxieties that hold people back from talking on Twitter. Today, in Brazil only, we’re starting a test (on Android and iOS) for one of those new capabilities. It’s called Fleets.”

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However, the number of people joining the conversation with Fleets did not increase. Brown’s blog post revealed that the feature was used mostly as a means of promoting tweets by people who already tweet frequently.  

Social media and disappearing posts

Disappearing posts was first seen on Snapchat with its introduction of Stories in October 2013. It was described as a “new way to share your day with friends.” The posts last for 24 hours after which they’ll no longer be seen.

The feature was introduced on Instagram in August 2016. Like Snapchat, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours of posting. More social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and networking platform, LinkedIn, soon added the feature. 

After the feature launched on Twitter newly, it suffered stability problems due to heavy usage. Twitter Support tweeted that the rollout of Fleets would be slowed down to “fix some performance and stability problems. If you don’t have the feature yet, you may not get it for a few more days.”

While this means the feature was catching on in the beginning, it is not clear why its use reduced.

Per TechCrunch, Twitter declined to give statistics on the usage of Fleets.

However, Instagram, claims its Stories see 500 million interactions daily, influencer marketing agency, Mediakix says 150 million — 10% — of Facebook’s 1.45 billion daily users use Facebook stories. Statista also reveals that daily WhatsApp status users were up to 500 million in Q1 2019.  

With no available data on other platforms’ disappearing posts feature usage, could this mean we’ll see more apps scrap it?

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Meanwhile, Twitter says it has learned from Fleets and will focus on creating other ways to encourage people to join the conversation.

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