The company started testing tweets that disappear after 24 hours last March in Brazil. The fleets were designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be put off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.
“However, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets as we had hoped,” Twitter said in a statement Wednesday. “So as of August 3, the fleets will no longer be available on Twitter.”
Kayvon Beykpour, head of consumer products at Twitter, pointed out that this is part of how the company works.
“(Big) bets are risky and speculative, so by definition a number of them won’t work,” he tweeted. “If we don’t have to slow down features every now and then, then that would be a sign that we’re not taking swings big enough.”
The fleets are reminiscent of Instagram and Facebook “stories” and Snapchat snapshots, which allow users to post short photos and messages. These features are increasingly popular with social media users looking for smaller groups and more private chats. But people use Twitter differently than Facebook, Instagram, or messaging apps – it’s more of a public conversation and a way to stay on top of what’s going on. It turns out the fleets didn’t make sense.
There was also a question of name. Called fleets because they were fleeting, the word is also a brand name for an enema – something many people pointed out on Twitter when the feature launched.
In a tweet announcing the decision, Twitter wrote “we’re sorry or you’re welcome,” tacitly acknowledging the mixed reactions from users to the feature.