Twitter’s new ephemeral tweets, known as fleets, are supposed to last for only 24 hours. But a new bug was causing fleets to not totally disappear, remaining accessible well past their expiration dates. First reported by TechCrunch, the bug allows fleets to be viewed and downloaded by other users, but without notifying the fleet’s author.
Twitter didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment from The Verge on Sunday, but told TechCrunch it was aware of the bug, accessible via a “technical workaround” which meant a fleet’s URL could be accessed after 24 hours had passed. “We are working on a fix that should be rolled out shortly,” a spokesperson said.
The “workaround” referenced appears to be a developer app that could scrape fleets from public accounts via Twitter’s API. The workaround didn’t appear to be working Sunday morning so it’s possible Twitter has already implemented a fix.
Twitter is a bit late to the disappearing content party— fleets are essentially its version of Instagram or Snapchat stories, They allow mobile Twitter users to briefly share text, videos, images, or other tweets. They’re not meant to be retweetable and you can’t directly “like” a fleet, but you can reply to one by tapping on it, which sends a direct message to the fleet’s creator.
With most fleets users can see who has viewed it, but there’s currently no way to know whether someone has taken a screenshot of your fleet, which of course would allow it to live on past the 24 hour expiration.
Fleets reportedly still visible on Twitter after 24 hours thanks to a bug The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Verge.