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Twitter is removing ‘Fleets’ feature just months after launch

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Twitter is set to kill off its divisive Fleets feature, just months after it launched to complaints and mixed reviews.

The social media giant had followed in the footsteps of Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook in November when it added the option for users to post disappearing messages.

However, while Instagram’s popular Stories feature has proved lucrative, Fleets drew a decidedly negative response from the site’s userbase, who complained about the messages being superimposed at the top of their feeds.

Twitter confirmed in a tweet: “we’re removing Fleets on August 3, working on some new stuff”.

In a blog, Twitter’s head of product Ilya Brown reflected: “We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.

“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. Because of this, on 3 August, Fleets will no longer be available on Twitter.”

Mr Brown added: “Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already tweeting to amplify their own tweets and talk directly with others.

“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people who already are tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you.”

He added: “We’re evolving what Twitter is, and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation. A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out.

“We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works, and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances. 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.”

The changes come as the site adds a new feature geared to cutting down on abuse, allowing users to “change who can reply” to a message retroactively in order to shut out strangers.

Twitter’s safety team wrote: “Your Tweets = Your space. Now you can change who can reply to you even after you Tweet.”

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