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Twitter testing disappearing ‘Fleets’ to spare our social media blushes

How many times have we seen famous folks’ past tweets come back to haunt them, in recent times? Many of them (and us) probably wake up in a cold sweat worrying about their (our) social media past eventually catching up with them.

Imagine if all that could go away? Imagine if tweets disappeared after 24 hours in the same way Instagram Stories and Snaps do? Well, finally, Twitter seems to be embracing the ephemeral nature of some social media platforms.

The company is testing Fleets, which is short for fleeting thoughts. The posts will fall from view after a day and will not give followers the opportunity to like, reply or retweet.

Brazil is the test ground for the feature, with Stories-like profile thumbnails appearing at the top of the home feed. Twitter says it believes users will be more comfortable sharing every day thoughts if they’re confident they will not leave an indelible mark on their profile.

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In a post on the official Twitter Brazil blog, the company wrote (translated): “Fleets are for you to share your ideas and momentary opinions. These posts disappear after 24 hours and have no Retweets, likes or public comments.

“In an initial survey, people told us that, once the Fleets are gone, they are more comfortable sharing everyday and everyday thoughts. We hope that those people who are not usually comfortable with Tweeting use Fleets to talk about the reflections that come to their head.”

Maybe Twitter users will indeed be more comfortable posting what comes into their head without wondering whether they’re going to be judged for it for all eternity?

Of course, there’s no guarantee tweets won’t be screen-shotted and kept for posterity, but using a tool like Fleets should cut back on the recriminations Twitter users often suffer for ill-conceived tweets from times then they perhaps weren’t as woke.

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