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Monday, August 2, 2021

Twitter to dump unpopular ‘Fleets’ feature

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“We’re sorry or you’re welcome,” Twitter said, announcing the move. 

Twitter on Wednesday confirmed it will officially ditch its ‘fleets’ feature as of next month after it failed to take off with users. 

Fleets, posts that disappear after 24 hours, will no longer be available for use from 3 August, the social media giant said.

The move comes just eight months after the social media platform rolled out the expiring-tweets feature to all its users worldwide.

Twitter said the Fleets feature did not gain much traction among new users and has been described as a copycat version of other time-limited formats like Snapchat Stories – which were also mimicked by Facebook and Instagram.

Fleets were initially launched to provide a safe space for users to share their thoughts and feel more comfortable participating on the platform in a “lower pressure way” without worrying about retweets and likes, Vice President of Product at Twitter Ilya Brown said.

“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,” the comment read, citing earlier research highlighting how Fleets weren’t meeting the target. 

A YouGov survey showed that only 7.7% of Twitter users in the US said they had posted a Fleet in January, an increase of 1.7% since the feature was first launched. 

Read also: Twitter introduces Arabic ‘feminine’ language setting to address women 

The social media giant said it is seeking to learn from the Fleets experience to create future updates that could lead to an increase in user engagement on the platform. 

Among the lessons learned were how most Fleets included photos and videos. For this reason, the platform said it is planning to test updates to both the tweet composer and camera to combine features from Fleets. 

Twitter also conducted trials on ads in Fleets, which ended last month.

Brown highlighted that those were “one of our first explorations of full-screen, vertical-format ads. We’re taking a close look at learnings to assess how these ads perform on Twitter.”

“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter,” he added, noting the decision to ditch Fleets is a standard procedure of Twitter’s product development cycle.

“If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while — we’re not taking big enough chances,” he wrote.


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