Social media is a dangerous place. And on Twitter, the danger is scarier.
Twitter is the popular microblogging platform that has reshaped communication through real-time engagement and minimum words. With the ability to reach every corners of the web, Twitter is one of the very few that has the capacity to disrupt the web's flow of overflowing information.
But Twitter is plagued and toxic. It's full of trolls, haters, harassers, and anything in between.
It has experienced more than 900% increase in hate speech since the 'COVID-19' coronavirus pandemic, had many of its famous and influential accounts being hacked, and more.
To play it safe, Twitter want to lessen the pressure of having a tweet that shouldn't be around forever or being forgotten.
And that is by introducing 'Fleets'.
In a blog post, Twitter said that:
"That’s why, unfortunately, there are so many Tweets left in drafts! To help people feel more comfortable, we've been working on a lower pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening."
"Today, we're launching Fleets so everyone can easily join the conversation in a new way – with their fleeting thoughts."
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Fleets is more or less, similar to Instagram Stories, which in turn is similar to Snapchat Stories.
After testing it in Brazil, India, Italy, South Korea, and Japan, Twitter is expanding its availability to the worldwide userbase. Twitter said that the feature is for “that thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.”
Users can Fleet text, reactions to Tweets, photos or videos and even customize their Fleets with various background and text options. To share a Tweet in a Fleet, users need to tap on the 'Share' icon at the bottom of the Tweet and then tap the 'Share in Fleet.'
Fleets can contain media, and Fleets can be embedded into Tweets. Other users can comment on Fleets with reaction emojis or reply via direct message.
This way, Twitter can help make its platform at least less crowded by tweets that should be there for too long.
Good for starters, but can have some dear consequences.
With disappearing tweets, trolls can simply have just another way to play dirty. Fleets could open the doors to invisible harassment campaigns.
According to Twitter, Fleets "are for sharing momentary thoughts – they help start conversations and only stick around for 24 hours."
"Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what's on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings. These are early findings from our tests and we’re excited to learn more about how Fleets are used by you."
But there is where the good things end.
Reposting Fleets could theoretically allow users, whether purposely or inadvertently, to direct their followers towards another user account, potentially leading to harassment. Because the original sender won't necessarily have the knowledge about where the harassment is happening, the person can be left with no idea about what is going on or where it was coming from.
Furthermore, Fleets will disappear after 24 hours, potentially making it even more difficult to track down the source.
Even before this, it was possible for anyone to circumvent Twitter's automatic notification of a quote retweet by simply creating a screenshot of someone's tweet and including that screenshot as an image. They can also do this through quote-retweeting a tweet from a private account.
With Fleets, things like these can get easier.
But still, this 'innovation' can make Twitter a bit more appealing for investors, who have long expect the microblogging site to introduce something new.