Twitter announced that they will be ending Fleets on August 3rd due to low usage, after launching just eight months ago. Fleets is a row of full-screen tweets on the top of Twitter timeline that disappears after 24 hours.
Twitter will be using that space for, well, Spaces. Starting August 3rd, users will instead just see active Spaces, which are Twitter’s audio chat rooms, at the top of their timelines. They will also be testing updates to the Tweet composer and camera to incorporate features from the Fleets composer – like the full-screen camera, text formatting options, and GIF stickers.
This decision by Twitter, did not only show that the feature didn’t work, but also that the social media company hasn’t figured out how to get people tweeting more. For years, Twitter has struggled to get new users to tweet more and Fleets was its shot at using Stories, the social media format pioneered by Snapchat and made popular by Instagram. According to Twitter, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others.
Axing the feature was especially sudden since Twitter had started testing ads on Fleets last month. It was one of the company’s first explorations of full-screen, vertical format ads. Twitter will be taking a close look at learnings to assess how these ads perform. It remains unclear if those full-screen ads will show up in other parts of the app in future.