Twitter (TWTR 0.39%) is testing a new way for people to communicate on its microblogging platform -- disappearing tweets, which it is aptly calling "fleets."
Taking a page from Snap's (SNAP 9.19%) Snapchat Stories, the fleets appear on a separate timeline above the user's main timeline and disappear after 24 hours.
"People often tell us that they don't feel comfortable Tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative," wrote Kayvon Beypour, product lead at Twitter in a thread. "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."
Given that fleets are supposed to be fleeting thoughts, users won't be able to retweet, like, or reply to them publicly. They can only react to them via a direct message to the poster. To access fleets, users have to tap on their avatar. Acknowledging that the feature looks a lot like Snapchat Stories, Beypour said there are a few differences focused on sharing and seeing people's thoughts. Since Snap launched Snapchat Stories in 2013, that feature has been copied by Facebook, Instagram, Microsoft, and now Twitter.
The addition of fleets marks the first time Twitter has altered the way users can communicate on its platform, and comes on the heels of its acquisition of Chroma Labs, a start-up founded by former Facebook engineers who created Instagram Stories. By enabling celebrities, politicians, influencers, entertainers, and everyone else to share their thoughts with less fear of backlash could drive Twitter usage higher. That's particularly likely to be true as the U.S. presidential election heats up and the Summer Olympics arrive. In the fourth quarter, Twitter's average monetizable daily active users grew by 21%, driven in large part by product improvements.