Last week, Fleets began rolling out to Twitter users and while we’ve heard a lot of moaning from users, we’re also seeing folks using the feature actively.
Fleets are Twitter’s answer to disappearing stories, only there is currently a bug where Fleets didn’t disappear after the stipulated 24-hour window.
The problem here was a rather simple one that Twitter has seemingly addressed. The issue was that Twitter’s backend systems which deleted Fleets after 24 hours fell behind due to scaling problems.
“This meant that developers could save a Fleet URL during the 24h the Fleet was active. Due to our queue backlog, that URL may have still been accessible after the Fleet expired. The queue is now caught up and we’ve updated our systems to reduce the likelihood that this reoccurs,” Twitter Support wrote in a thread.
Another concern for users was that Fleets might be visible to folks who aren’t logged into Twitter. While Twitter brushed this off saying that those using Twitter apps would have to be logged in to view Fleets, there was a way for people to see Fleets without logging into Twitter.
“We updated our systems today to require an authenticated session before requesting Fleets metadata, to add more friction to use these APIs,” said Twitter Support.
Finally, users were concerned that users could view Fleets without showing up on a user’s “Seen by” list.
“Our goal is to show a list of people who’ve seen your Fleet, but we don’t guarantee completeness for technical and experience reasons. For example, we cap the list when it gets long. The edge cases that can result in a mismatch between the ‘Seen by’ list and the actual people who saw your Fleet are uncommon, but we realise that this may not have aligned with expectations. We’re taking this feedback seriously and considering how we can improve,” Twitter Support added.
While Fleets are fun, they lack the functionality of Instagram’s Stories. It’s not that the feature is bad, it’s just not good. For example, we can’t seem to add audio to our Fleets aside from audio contained in a video. We also can’t share links from within Fleets.
We understand that these are meant to be a way for you to say things you wouldn’t want to say on your Twitter Timeline but the functionality compared to something like WhatsApp Status Updates is severely lacking.
Here’s hoping Twitter can make Fleets more appealing, or if they don’t, that the trend is short lived.