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Twitter is Shutting Down its Fleets Feature Surprising No One

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
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Ubiquitous social media platform Twitter is removing its Fleets feature just eight months after its worldwide launch due to low user engagement and interest.

From 3 August, users on the services will instead see active Spaces – Twitter’s live audio chat rooms – at the top of their timeline instead of rows of, usually one or two, Fleets.

The Verge reports that with the removal of the feature, Twitter’s tweet composition will be updated with more camera editing features added, cannibalised from Fleets, like text-formatting and GIF stickers over images/photos.

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, Twitter’s VP of product, said in a statement.

“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.”

According to The Verge, Twitter’s Fleets flop is not just an admission of a failed feature, but instead an admission that the company has yet to understand why more people aren’t tweeting. For years, Twitter has struggled to get new users to post more regularly instead of just lurking, liking and retweeting the content of others.

Fleets was the company’s attempt at using the now-widely popular ‘Stories’ format, invented by Snapchat and popularised by Instagram to make tweeting a faster, less pressurised activity.

Lack of Engagement

Just last month Twitter started testing out 30-second long fullscreen ads to be shown between Fleets, so the killing of the feature seems quite sudden.

A quick search of ‘fleets’ on Twitter shows exactly why it will be going away, however. Instead of either anger towards the feature being taken away, or gladness that the feature is gone – most users are apathetic, with many claiming they had no idea the feature was even a thing in the first place.

Apathy doesn’t make money, but the 30-second long ads may return to Twitter in another capacity in the future.

“If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances,” Brown said.

“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.”

By Luis Monzon
Follow Luis Monzon on Twitter
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