Twitter’s New ‘Fleets’ Are for People Who Are Afraid to Tweet

‘Tweeting, retweeting, engaging in conversation can honestly be incredibly terrifying,’ the company’s head of research said

Will Oremus
OneZero
Published in
5 min readNov 17, 2020

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Twitter Fleets, a new “Stories”-like feature. Image: Twitter

Twitter on Tuesday launched “Fleets,” its version of the Snapchat Stories (or Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories, or LinkedIn Stories, or… well, you get the idea). Like those others, they can come in the form of text, images, or video; they appear above the feeds of the people who follow you and they disappear after 24 hours. On Twitter, they can also include a tweet, either yours or someone else’s, along with your reaction to it. Unlike tweets, they can’t be retweeted, liked, or replied to, except via direct message.

From one perspective, this is just Twitter keeping up with the Joneses, launching a familiar feature in a characteristically belated fashion. In a call with journalists on Monday, however, Twitter executives made the case that Fleets are part of a larger push to reshape the service as something friendlier, safer, and more comfortable for novice users. Along with Fleets, the company teased an upcoming feature called Spaces, which will allow users to set up live audio chat rooms and control who can join.

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