Twitter to shut down its Fleets Stories feature; Elon Musk reacts

Twitter to remove Fleets
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Twitter to remove Fleets

Highlights

  • Twitter will shut down its Fleets Stories feature that was similar to Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Here's what the company said about the shutdown and how Elon Musk reacted.

Last year Twitter surprised its users when it introduced Twitter Fleets, an implementation of the short-lived "stories" feature made popular by Snapchat and Instagram. The microblogging service's decision received a mixed response but has apparently seen low user adoption since its launch. The company has now announced that it will shut down the Fleets feature after eight months on the platform. Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to the announcement by tweeting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey requesting a new feature for Twitter direct messages. Musk tweeted folded hands emoji and wrote, "A new laugh emoji in direct messages would be great." Sarcasm? It's up to you.

Twitter's decision to remove Fleets is not just an admission that the feature didn't work, but that the company has yet to figure out how to get people to Tweet more. For years, Twitter has struggled to get new users to post regularly and not just consume other people's tweets. Fleets had the opportunity to use Stories, the popular social media format invented by Snapchat and most popularized by Instagram, to reduce pressure around tweets.

"We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter," Ilya Brown, Twitter's vice president 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."

Removing the feature now is especially sudden, as Twitter rolled it out to everyone in November and began testing cross-fleet ads last month. At the time, the company called the ads an "experiment" with a handful of advertisers. It's unclear if those full-screen ads will appear in other parts of the app 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."

Tags: Twitter, Fleet, Elon Musk

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