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Twitter ending Fleets, its disappearing-stories clone, due to lack of interest

Twitter's icon, a white bird on a blue background, is shown on a mobile phone.
Twitter is shutting down a disappearing-stories product feature called Fleets, citing lack of user engagement.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Twitter Inc. is shutting down Fleets, the company’s version of disappearing stories, after it failed to win over users.

Twitter launched Fleets just eight months ago after testing the product in a handful of markets. The feature, which appeared prominently at the top of the app, let people share posts that then disappeared after 24 hours, a format invented by Snap Inc. and later copied and further popularized by Facebook Inc.’s stable of apps, including Instagram.

But Twitter said Wednesday in a blog post that, although it had hoped the ephemeral nature of Fleets would encourage more people to post, the feature was used primarily by people who were already tweeting.

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” the company wrote. “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.”

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Disappearing stories have been a popular product for other social media companies, primarily Instagram and Snapchat, where most posts are photos or videos. Tweets, meanwhile, are dominated by text. Twitter said it was looking at building more features into the app’s camera to encourage people to share photos and videos more often.

Although Twitter tested running ads in Fleets, the product didn’t drive any meaningful revenue. Fleets will officially shut down Aug. 3, the San Francisco-based company said.


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