Twitter plans to remove an ephemeral-stories feature from its app after it failed to attract users, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday. The feature, Fleets, automatically deleted images or text after 24 hours.
Snapchat introduced the so-called stories format in 2013 as a bridge between its core private messaging features and the public sharing that most people expected from social media platforms. Instagram copied the feature in 2016, and ephemeral stories quickly spread across social media, including Facebook and LinkedIn.
Twitter arrived late to the trend, rolling out Fleets in March 2020. The company believed that the format would help new users become comfortable posting on Twitter by relieving the pressure that comes with making a permanent public post. But Fleets didn’t cause new users to flock to the platform, Twitter said.
“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, a Twitter vice president of product, wrote in the blog post. “Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others.”
Twitter will remove Fleets from its service by Aug. 3, Mr. Brown said. It is the only major social media company to deactivate a stories feature.
The company will look into other ways to reduce the anxiety of tweeting for new users, Mr. Brown added. Twitter executives also said the company would continue to research the impact of its features and would not hesitate to move on from projects if the features did not resonate with users.
“Big bets are risky and speculative, so by definition a number of them won’t work,” Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of product, said in a tweet about the change. “If we’re not having to wind down features every once in a while, then it would be a sign that we’re not taking big enough swings.”