Here now, gone tomorrow: Twitter is testing messages that disappear

The social network said it is testing a new feature for messages that last 24 hours before vanishing — an idea the company is calling "fleets."

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By David Ingram

Twitter may join Snapchat and Instagram and soon have social media posts that disappear.

The social network said Wednesday that it is testing a new feature for messages that last 24 hours before vanishing, an idea the company is calling "fleets" — as in fleeting tweets — that echoes the popular "stories" features on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

The test was occurring only in Brazil, so it wouldn't be available, for example, to President Donald Trump or other Americans, but Twitter said it may expand the test to other countries later as results come in.

"Some of you tell us that you're uncomfortable to Tweet because Tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts," such as retweets and likes, Mo Al Adham, a Twitter group product manager, said in a statement.

The fleets, he said, would "make it possible for you to have conversations in new ways with less pressure and more control," allowing for "casual, everyday thoughts."

The test is happening in Brazil because it is one of Twitter's "most conversational countries," Al Adham said.

Social media has turned into an enormous repository of potentially damaging and permanent information, haunting people later as they apply for jobs even as it serves as a means to hold politicians and other public figures accountable for what they have said.

On Twitter, some users have turned to deleting old tweets to start fresh. Or they just don't send a tweet at all.

According to a mock-up shared by Twitter, the "fleets" are text-based by default, but users can add a photo or a video, as with tweets.