On November 17, Twitter launched a new feature called “Twitter Fleets.” The new feature mimics the popular Stories feature that is available on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and most recently LinkedIn.
Twitter positioned the rationale for Fleets by stating the brand hoped to empower users to share content or thoughts that typically would be left in drafts. Users can share text and image posts that are only visible for 24-hours. Beta testing of the feature prior to launch in the U.S. showcased that users were more likely to “join the conversation” when they knew their post would only be available for 24 hours.
Much like Instagram Stories, user’s Fleets are only visible to their followers. For those with public profiles, anyone who has access to see a user’s public page will be able to view their Fleets. Reactions are also available for Fleets. Individuals who view a user’s Fleet can reply with just a simple emoji or DM a full text message.
While engagement in pre-testing phases showed positive results, a number of Twitter users have been giving the brand backlash. Many users have been tweeting the official Twitter and Twitter Support accounts asking for the removal of the feature or the individual ability to disable it from their feeds.
On November 18, the official Twitter Support account released a statement that they would be slowing down the roll out of Fleets due to issues with performance. By slowing down the feature release Twitter hopes to be able to mitigate issues and fix performance problems that have already been brought to their attention. Users who do not already have access to the feature may not receive ability to access it for over a week.
Another major issue surrounding Fleets is the concerns about harmful and misleading information. Twitter has been under fire on numerous occasions for being slow to take action on false claims. The brand has stated that with the release of Fleets they will also be adding more tools to provide users opportunities to flag information that may need a warning attached or complete removal for community guideline violations.
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