- Twitter announced on Tuesday that it is rolling out disappearing tweets – called Fleets – to all users.
- The new feature instantly drew comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram stories.
- Fleets also prompted some raised eyebrows due to its name, which it shares with an enema brand.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Twitter’s Fleets are here. And, people aren’t quite sure how to feel.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced it is rolling out disappearing tweets, called Fleets. The feature functions similarly to Snapchat or Instagram stories, in that the Fleet â€” which could be a text, photo, or video â€” is live for just 24 hours.
According to Twitter, the new feature rolls out for all users starting on Tuesday.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Twitter previously tested Fleets in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, design director Joshua Harris and product manager Sam Haveson said in a blog post. Harris and Haveson said that Fleets are intended to counter some people’s discomfort that tweets can feel “so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes.”
The feature sparked some raised eyebrows, both for its similarities to other platforms and its name â€” which it shares with an enema brand.
Fleets is already drawing comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram Stories
On the updated Twitter app, it is immediately clear why Fleets are drawing comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Snapchat was the first major platform to bet on ephemeral posts that disappear after viewing or after a certain amount of time. And, Twitter’s layout for Fleet’s is remarkably similar to the circular stories at the top of Instagram.
Like Instagram and Snapchat, people’s responses to Fleets appear in the form of direct messages, unlike a typical tweet, which can be retweeted or replied to publicly.
Even Harris and Haveson acknowledged the overlap between Fleets and other platforms.
“This format may sound familiar to you!” Tuesday’s blog post reads. “We’ve learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they’re saying lives just for a moment in time.”
Many people on took to Twitter to remark on the similarities.
Instagram: Insta Stories
Whatsapp: Whatsapp Stories
Facebook: Facebook Stories
Youtube: Youtube Stories
Snapchat: …. pic.twitter.com/9FrETAuSgL
— Fiersa Besari (@FiersaBesari) November 17, 2020
Instagram looking at twitter add fleets pic.twitter.com/w9FLuVrYtb
— IsHeReallyObito? (@ObitoisLuv) November 17, 2020
Snapchat looking at Twitter steal Stories and call it Fleets pic.twitter.com/4y0fbPgae6
— Flight’s Burner (@FRBurnerAcct) November 17, 2020
Fleet shares a name with an enema brand, sparking mockery
Twitter’s decision to name the feature Fleets also prompted some raised eyebrows.
Fleet is a well-established enema brand. So, some people questioned why Twitter decided to brand its disappearing tweets with this exact name.
the ceo of fleet enemas this morning when they found out about twitter fleets pic.twitter.com/vg2Jy7S1WM
— ✨ Mikey Almeida ✨ (@mikey_almeida) November 17, 2020
Twitter just started some new feature called "Fleets".
Do they realize they named it after an enema?
— Renee Libby ???????? (@ReneeAlida) November 17, 2020
This isn’t the first time someone has questioned Twitter’s naming skills.
When Twitter announced it was testing Fleets back in March, it sparked a wave of questions about why Twitter would name the feature after an enema brand. Eventually, the company’s communications team responded on Twitter.
The response: “yes we know what fleets means. thanks – gay intern.”
yes we know what fleets means. thanks – gay intern
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) March 4, 2020
People also questioned why Twitter prioritised Fleets over functions like an edit button
Some people wondered why Twitter decided to roll out Fleets instead of focusing on features users are demanding, such as an edit button.
twitter: we changed the replies layout
users: edit button pls
twitter: we changed the retweet function
users: edit button pls
twitter: we're adding fleets! its like snapchat where it's deleted after a while
users: edit button pls
twitter: we're very good listeners
users: edit but
— Squimpus (@squimpus) November 17, 2020
fleets and stories are cool but what we really want is an edit button, multiple pins, and a longer character limit pic.twitter.com/LZWBA5ryEM
— zach (@gzach_) November 17, 2020
Twitter wants to get fancy and add fleets, but still refuses to give us an edit button …
— samanthamarika (@samanthamarika1) November 17, 2020
However, the ability to edit tweets may never come to fruition.Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Wired earlier this year that the company has not rolled out editing to allow Twitter to stay true to its text-messaging roots.
“The reason there’s no edit button [and] there hasn’t been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text messaging service,” Dorsey said. “So as you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days.”