Twitter is shutting down Fleets, its expiring tweets feature

Say goodbye to Fleets, the row of fullscreen tweets at the top of the Twitter timeline that expire after 24 hours. The ephemeral tweet format is shutting down due to low usage after launching widely just eight months ago.

Starting on August 3rd, users will instead just see active Spaces — Twitter’s live audio chat rooms — at the top of their timelines. And the composer for traditional tweets will be updated with more camera editing features from Fleets, like text-formatting and GIF stickers over photos.

Twitter’s decision to axe Fleets is not just an admission that the feature didn’t work, but that the company still hasn’t figured out how to get people tweeting more. For years, Twitter has struggled to get new users to post regularly and not just consume other people’s tweets. Fleets was its shot at using Stories, the popular social media format invented by Snapchat and further popularized by Instagram, to lower the pressure around tweeting.

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, Twitter’s vice president of product, said in a statement. “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.”

Killing the feature now is especially sudden since Twitter just rolled it out to everyone in November and started testing ads between fleets last month. At the time, the company called the ads an “experiment” with a handful of advertisers. It’s unclear if those fullscreen ads will show up in other parts of the app in the future.

“If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances,” Brown said. “We’ll continue to build new ways to participate in conversations, listening to feedback and changing direction when there may be a better way to serve people using Twitter.”

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