Twitter is testing something it calls “fleets” in Brazil

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Snapchat does it, Facebook does it, Instagram does it, so now Twitter wants to do it as well.

We’re of course talking about disappearing content in the form of Stories. These photos, updates or videos are often around for 24 hours before being gone from the public eye.

While Stories have been a mainstay for many social networks for a number of years now, Twitter has remained somewhat immune to the lure of disappearing content. At least until recently.

A report from the BBC reveals that Twitter is testing a feature called Fleets. The feature is only available in Brazil where it is being tested. For now, Fleets are but a twinkle in Twitter’s eye and we’re not sure how we feel about it.

“Every day, people come to Twitter to see what’s happening. One of the unique things about Twitter is that ‘what’s happening’ is fueled by people sharing their thoughts openly, through Tweets. But sharing your thoughts publicly can be intimidating,” said Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour in an exhaustive thread.

The product lead goes on to say that many users don’t feel comfortable tweeting because their tweets feel permanent and can be see and replied to by anybody.

Whether these users are aware of making their profile private is unclear.

Later in Beykpour’s thread the product lead says, “We’re hoping that Fleets can help people share the fleeting thoughts that they would have been unlikely to Tweet. This is a substantial change to Twitter, so we’re excited to learn by testing it (starting with the rollout today in Brazil) and seeing how our customers use it.”

And that’s where we lost interest in Fleets.

It’s no secret that Twitter can be a toxic cesspit where bigots, racists and ne’er-do-wells feel brave enough to spew whatever thought they feel needs airing.

In addition, in an age where misinformation spreads like wildfire, is it really the best idea to give those doing harm yet another tool with which to spread misinformation and hate?

We’d argue it’s not but then, we’re not Twitter with access to vast mounds of data and user feedback.

Whether Fleets become a permanent feature for Twitter remains to be seen but we’re glad that this news has reignited calls for an editing option for tweets.

Keep fighting the good fight people.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.