Twitter Fleets: what is the new Twitter feature, how do I use them and when are they available in the UK?

Social media platform Twitter has launched it’s latest feature - tweets which disappear after 24 hours

Twitter launched a new feature on 17 November, which allows you to post more informal content which will only remain on your page for a limited time.

‘Fleets’ - similar to other social media platforms’ story features, aim to engage people who feel intimidated or unsure about tweeting onto their timeline.

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So what can we expect from Twitter’s Fleets? Here is what you need to know.

Twitter's new feature will allow you to share posts to your own individual storyTwitter's new feature will allow you to share posts to your own individual story
Twitter's new feature will allow you to share posts to your own individual story

What are Fleets?

Similar to Snapchat and Instagram stories, Twitter has launched a new feature called Fleets - disappearing tweets.

Tweets stay on your profile forever, unless you delete them or Twitter removes them.

However, Fleets will disappear after 24 hours and will not feature in the same way as tweets.

Again, much like Instagram, you can share other Tweets in your Fleets section and add comments, emojis and hashtags.

Why has Twitter introduced them?

Twitter is the go-to place for trending topics, live news and to read what celebrities, politicians and journalists have to say, so it can be intimidating if you are new or have fewer followers.

Over time, the social media platform has become a place of rivalry for interaction - Twitter users undeniably compete for followers, retweets and likes.

Therefore, Twitter has created Fleets as a space for ‘feeting thoughts’, where you can

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share your opinion on Tweets and general news, without feeling judged or having the need to attract followers and attention.

Twitter’s design director, Joshua Harris, and product manager, Sam Haveson, blogged about their new design feature, posting: “some of you tell us that Tweeting is uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there's so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes.

“That’s why, unfortunately, there are so many [flame] Tweets left in drafts! To help people feel more comfortable, we've been working on a lower pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening.

“Today, we're launching Fleets so everyone can easily join the conversation in a new way – with their fleeting thoughts.”

Can other Twitter users engage with them?

While your Fleets won’t appear on your timeline, they will appear in your icon at the top of your followers’ timeline.

If you have a public profile and open direct messages, anyone can reply to your Fleets but their comment will not be public.

Fleets cannot be retweeted (or refleeted) or liked and if you have a private account, only your approved followers can view your Fleets.

How do I use Fleets?

When the feature becomes available in the UK, you will be able to add to your own Fleets by clicking your profile icon at the top of your timeline and adding to your fleet story.

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Your Fleets can contain text, reactions to others’ tweets, reposts of your own tweets and photos or videos.

To share a Tweet in your Fleets, tap the “Share” icon at the bottom of the Tweet and then tap, “Share in Fleet.”

To respond to someone else’s Fleet, you must have approval to direct message the person.

To do so, tap on the Fleet you wish to respond to and send a Direct Message or emoji, your conversation will then appear in your Direct Messages.

Fleets will be regulated using the same terms and conditions as tweets.

Have there been any issues with the new feature?

The new tool has the potential to combat public trolls, a major issue faced on Twitter as anonymous accounts or random strangers virtually heckle and bully others, often compounded with others liking and retweeting their comments - this can’t happen on the new fleets feature.

However, when trialled in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, there were a few limitations and issues flagged in feedback.

Twitter users are not currently notified if someone else shares their Tweet in a Fleet, therefore will not necessarily be aware when someone passes comment on their content.

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Additionally, the private messaging feature also opens up a space for harassment - as you can be tagged by someone in their fleets, even if you have blocked them.

Therefore, you may not receive a notification that you have been mentioned on someone else’s profile and their followers, who you may not have blocked, can access your account and retrieve information.

This has raised concerns about whereby a Twitter account could attract an influx of abuse due to an account sharing your Tweet on their Fleet, with their followers then harassing you while you are left in the dark as to the original source of harassment.

Twitter has asked those who have feedback about the new feature to tweet them using @Twitter in your Tweets and letting them know what you think.

When are Fleets available on UK Twitter accounts?

Twitter has removed the feature from their platform for the time being, but it is expected that everyone accessing Twitter ton an iOS and Android phone will have the new feature in the coming weeks.

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