Thursday, November 19, 2020

Twitter Launches Fleets

Joshua Harris and Sam Haveson:

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.

Fleets are for sharing momentary thoughts – they help start conversations and only stick around for 24 hours.

How does this work with third-party clients? I can already see deleted regular tweets in Tweetbot.

Juli Clover:

Fleets have no retweets, likes, or public comments, do not show up in search or moments, and cannot be embedded on external websites.

Alec Stapp:

Oct 2013: Snapchat launches Stories
Aug 2016: Instagram copies it
Feb 2017: WhatsApp copies it
Mar 2017: Messenger copies it
Nov 2018: YouTube copies it
Sep 2020: LinkedIn copies it
Nov 2020: Twitter copies it

Update (2020-11-20): Jeff Johnson says that Twitter did an Epic-style server update to enable fleets for users without updating the Twitter app on their phones. That would seem to go against guideline 2.3.1 about not including “hidden, dormant, or undocumented features in your app.”

Update (2020-11-23): Tim Hardwick:

Twitter’s new ephemeral tweets, or “fleets,” have been hit by a bug that allows them to be accessed long after their supposed 24-hour expiration time, less than a week after the feature launched.


According to Techcrunch, the bug allowed fleets to be viewed and downloaded by other users without notifying their creator. Details of the bug were posted in a series of tweets over the weekend. Twitter soon acknowledged the issue and says a fix is on the way.

Update (2020-11-30): Kris Holt (via John Gruber):

It emerged last year that Spotify was working on a stories feature for artists. The company started a public test of stories earlier this year, when it allowed some influencers to add them to playlists. Many other major platforms have stories features, including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and even LinkedIn. It probably shouldn’t be too surprising that Spotify looks set to get in on the action too. Whether it should do so is perhaps up for debate.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

My favourite Fleets story is that some ghastly hedge fund "activist investor" forced Twitter to do this because it wasn't "innovating" enough, as though making a copy of a copy of a copy is an innovation to be celebrated.

As some of the replies mention, it’s incredibly common to enable new features with just a server flag. It’s allowed as long as you tell Apple about it and let them test it during review. This is not “Epic-style.”

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