Twitter Adds Self-Deleting Tweets

Credit: Unsplash

For when you know you’re about to have a really bad take.

Posting remorse is a constant problem of the digital age. You comment on a forum or a video or something, realize you’ve made yourself look like a horse’s butt in a public place, but by the time you go to delete it, everyone has already seen it and will mock you forever. This is an especially prevalent problem on Twitter, which lacks an editing feature and moves so quickly that everyone you hate will have seen your gaffe in about five minutes. In lieu of the obvious solution of an edit button, Twitter has decided to implement tweets that self-destruct.

“Fleets” are the newest addition to Twitter as of yesterday, named for their “fleeting” nature. Hardy har har. Fleets are designed similar to Instagram Stories in that they can contain all the same stuff as a regular tweet, including text, videos, and embeds, but after a set period, they’ll automatically delete themselves from your timeline. This feature has been available on Twitter in several countries for a while, but it is now usable worldwide.

Apparently, Fleets were a recurring request from Elliott Management Group, a hedge fund that owns a minority stake in Twitter that has it in for Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey. Supposedly, the goal of Fleets is to encourage people who use Twitter regularly but don’t post that much to feel less worried that they’ll be judged long-term for their bad takes. This also ties into Twitter’s background efforts to make the site “nicer,” as Twitter Senior Product Manager Christine Su told TechCrunch.

“We’re exploring methods of private feedback on the platform, as well as private apologies, and forgiveness,” said Su. “And so that may look like a notification — that’s like a gentle elbowing from someone that you follow. Or it also may look like a nudge like you’ve seen before.”

Of course, considering the lightning speed with which I’ve seen people take screen captures, I’m not sure how helpful this system will really be, but I guess Twitter’s welcome to try.

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