Way back in March of last year, Twitter started testing out a new feature called “Fleets.” This brought ephemeral tweets to the platform, allowing users to post specialized tweets in a separate timeline from the standard one. They’d also disappear after several hours.
Twitter saw this as a big opportunity to get more engagement on the site. They started testing Fleets back in March of last year. They did so for several months, for both iOS and Android, before finally launching it to the public in November.
But it was all fleeting, turns out. Now, over eight months after going live, Fleets are shutting down. Twitter confirmed (via The Verge) today that, beginning August 3, 2021, Spaces will instead be present at the top of the timeline from then on. Fleets, which are present at the top of the timeline but disappear after 24 hours, will be gone after that date.
In addition to that, composing a tweet will no longer have an option for Fleets. Instead, there will be more camera-focused elements taken from the feature, including GIF stickers that can be placed over photos, and more.
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In a statement, Twitter’s vice president of product, Ilya Brown, weighed in:
We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter. 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.
As noted in the original report, Twitter actually started testing advertisements in Fleets just last month. So the sudden turnaround to shutting it down entirely comes out of the blue, somewhat. However, as noted by the executive of the social network, adoption wasn’t where the company hoped.