SAN FRANCISCO —
Twitter is starting to test tweets that disappear after 24 hours, although initially only in Brazil.
The company says ephemeral tweets, which they call "fleets" because of their fleeting nature, are designed to ease the concerns of new users who may be disabled by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.
Fleets cannot be retweeted and will not be "tanned". People can respond to them, but the responses appear as direct messages to the original tweeter, not as a public response, turning any conversation into a private conversation rather than a public discussion.
The new feature recalls Instagram and Facebook "stories" and Snapchat snaps, which allow users to post photos and short messages. These features are increasingly popular with social media users looking for smaller groups and more private conversations.
But Twitter often plays a different role than Instagram or Facebook, operating not only as a basis for conversation, but as a platform for politicians and other public figures. Disappearing Tweets can make it more difficult to hold these people accountable, monitor their posts and verify them.
Social media services often test new features in smaller markets before bringing them to the U.S. and elsewhere – if they do.
Twitter said it could take fleets to other countries, depending on how the test will be in Brazil. In its blog on Wednesday, Twitter said it will be looking at how the new feature "changes the way you interact and allows you to share what you think most comfortably".