Twitter is testing out a new type of tweet that disappears after 24 hours, similar to the stories feature that is popular on Snapchat and Facebook's photo-sharing app Instagram.
Dubbed ‘Fleets’, the ephemeral tweets mean messages won't be permanently etched, and searchable, on someone's timeline. The messages can be viewed by tapping on a user's profile picture.
Unlike Tweets, Fleets can’t receive likes, replies or be retweeted. They won’t appear on a user’s timeline and will vanish completely after 24 hours.
"We're hoping that Fleets can help people share the fleeting thoughts that they would have been unlikely to Tweet," Kayvon Beykpour, the company's product lead, said on Twitter.
So far, the feature is on trial only in Brazil. Users in Brazil will see rounded profile icons above their timeline on Twitter’s mobile app. The first icon is a ‘+’ adorned thought bubble with the user’s own profile picture. To compose a Fleet, users will simply have to tap the thought bubble.
The move comes nearly a year after Twitter's social media competitor Facebook announced that it would shift focus toward building products that emphasise privacy and are less permanent.
Twitter has been rolling out new features aimed at making the platform more user-friendly in the past several months, but the company's growth has lagged behind rivals for years, leaving investors grumbling that it has failed to innovate or expand beyond its core platform. Its shares fell last year when it disclosed that its platform experienced glitches that hindered its ability to target ads and share data with partners.