After months of being tested in a handful of countries, Twitter finally gave Fleets to the rest of us this week. If you haven’t got the feature yet, it’s because the rollout has been slowed to address some technical issues. As expected, fleets are basically the Stories format with minimal tweaks for a Twitter audience. But maybe not enough tweaks.
Users were quick to point out how they could be used for harassment
and to spread disinformation.
To his credit, Twitter’s product lead, Kayvon Beykpour, was quick to discuss
how the company was moving fast to address people’s concerns and fix the problems.
Fleets highlight how copying Stories isn’t enough. Features like replies going into your DM box seem natural on Instagram, but can feel invasive on Twitter, a platform with a very different vibe.
Why didn’t they test for these issues with people who suffer harassment before Fleets launched? Interestingly, that’s exactly what Twitter is doing with its next big product — Clubhouse-like audio chat rooms called Spaces. Twitter product designer, Maya Gold Patterson told reporters: “We are going to launch this first experiment of spaces to a very small group of people — a group of people who are disproportionately impacted by abuse and harm on the platform: women and those from marginalized backgrounds.”
Social apps should really do this kind of testing as standard.