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Twitter launches fleets that disappear after 24 hours

Twitter has launched a new way of sending messages. So-called fleets disappear after 24 hours.

If fleets strongly remind you of stories on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, then you are right. Twitter has been working on a counterpart for those temporary messages on its own network for some time now. The fleets were tested in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea.

Too public, too permanent

“Some tell us they find tweeting uncomfortable because it is so public, so permanent and there is too much pressure to collect retweets and likes,” Twitter’s designer Joshua Harris said on Twitter’s blog.

“Because they disappear from view after a day, fleets are ideal for making people more comfortable with sharing personal thoughts, opinions and feelings,” he said.

Some Twitter users who tested the system had some questions about the privacy of fleets. For example, they say it is an ideal tool for harassment, because it also allows unwanted personal messages to get through. Fleets also allow people who have blocked you to tag you in photos. Twitter has already responded that it is working on a solution to those problems.

Fleets can be text messages, photos and videos. They appear at the top of users’ timeline and on the sender’s profile.

Labels

Twitter and other social media companies are under great pressure to remove harassment and disinformation from the platform. According to Twitter spokesperson Liz Kelley, the same rules apply to fleets as to tweets.

In concrete terms, this means that warnings or labels may be placed on fleets. Twitter attaches this to certain tweets if, for example, images have been manipulated or if they contain politically important but incorrect messages.

Twitter has also confirmed that it is working on a kind of audio group called Spaces. This will allow users to talk in public, online group rooms. Remarkably, according to Kelley, the Spaces will first be opened to “women and historically marginalized groups”.

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