What you need to know
- Twitter has announced that it is ending its Fleets experiment on August 3.
- The company admits that it didn't have as much usage as it would have hoped.
- Twitter teases Fleets features coming to the tweet composer and
Twitter Fleets is dead. The company announced that it is ending its Fleets experiment in roughly two weeks' time, on August 3.
Twitter's head of product, Ilya Brown, said in a blog post that it saw Fleets as an engaging new way for users to participate in conversations, but the feature did not meet the company's expectations.
...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.
The feature rolled out globally on the best Android phones in November 2020 as an alternative to Snapchat, which popularized expiring photos and videos. Twitter Fleets were placed at the top of the timeline, and the feature had some initial shortcomings that made it pale in comparison to others like Instagram Stories.
And while Brown says the feature was built "to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting," the company realized that the feature was mostly being used by people who were already tweeting as a way to amplify their voice.
Twitter was ultimately unable to attract more users to the feature, but even after Fleets shuts down, it will still live on in some shape or form.
Brown teased "bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation," which includes experimenting with bringing some of Fleets' media features the tweet composer, such as a full-screen camera, GIF stickers, and text formatting options. The company also wants to evaluate full-screen, vertical ads, which were briefly tested on Fleets.
But the biggest challenge for Twitter remains getting more users to actively Tweet. "We'll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter," said Brown, who admits that some of its future experiments may not pan out. "And for the people who already are Tweeting, we're focused on making this better for you."
Meanwhile, Brown says that Spaces will continue to live at the top of the timeline, making it easy for users to join in on Clubhouse-like audio chats.
Twitter Fleets is still available to use until August 3. If you'd rather do away with them now, you can always mute Fleets from your Twitter feed.