Twitter Testing Ephemeral Tweets Called ‘Fleets’

Twitter is considering rolling out an ephemeral tweet option called a "Fleet," which is a tweet that lasts for 24 hours before disappearing and has no retweets, likes, or public comments.

Snapchat was the first major social networking app to feature short-lived content that eventually disappears, but since then, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and more have added Story options where content is deleted after 24 hours. Until now, Twitter has had no equivalent.

As outlined by TechCrunch, Twitter is testing "Fleets" in Brazil at the current time, and Twitter has shared a blog post in Portuguese explaining the new feature to Brazilian users.

Twitter is adding the feature to allow people to have conversations on the platform in new ways, with less pressure and more control.
Fleets are for you to share your ideas and momentary opinions. These posts disappear after 24 hours and have no Retweets, likes or public comments. In an initial survey, people told us that, once the Fleets are gone, they are more comfortable sharing everyday and everyday thoughts. We hope that those people who are not usually comfortable with Tweeting use Fleets to talk about the reflections that come to their head.
Fleets are similar to tweets and are based on text, but videos, GIFs, and photos can be included. People can reply to Fleets by clicking on one and then sending a Direct Message or an emoji to the person who shared the Fleet.

Fleets are not shown in Search or Moments, and cannot be embedded on external websites.

Twitter's test of Fleets in Brazil will determine whether or not the feature rolls out to the rest of the world. Twitter says that depending on how the testing goes, Fleets could expand to additional countries in the coming months.

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Twitter Adds ‘Continue Thread’ Option for Linking a New Tweet to an Existing Tweet

Twitter this afternoon announced the launch of a new feature that's designed to link two tweets together in a more logical way.

When composing a tweet, there's a new option to view previous tweets, which can be selected and linked via a "Continue Thread" option.

To get to the Continue Thread interface, just pull downwards on the compose window on an iPhone or iPad and then tap on the Continue Thread option. Tap on the three dots and then choose an older tweet from the list to link the new tweet to the older tweet.

The Continue Thread option makes it much simpler to associate a new tweet with an existing tweet for threads around a specific topic. Twitter is rolling out the new feature as of today, though it could take some time to propagate to all users.

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Latest Twitter for iPad Update Adds Option to Disable Multi-Column View

Twitter has updated its official iPad app, introducing a change to the main interface that many users will welcome.

Twitter for ‌iPad‌ with multi-column view disabled (right)

The last major update to Twitter for ‌iPad‌ attempted to make better use of the iOS device's larger screen by introducing a multi-column view that placed the timeline on the left and the search bar with trending topics on the right.

That's become an optional layout in the latest update, and users can now hide the right-hand column altogether so that their attention is centered on the content of their timeline.

The new layout option can be activated in the Twitter app by going to "Settings and privacy" then toggling the "Show search column" switch under the "Display and sound" preferences.

Turning off the right-hand column does revert Twitter on ‌iPad‌ back to the same interface as on the iPhone, which means you're presented with a single timeline with two big unused spaces on either side of it.

Most users will agree that it's not an ideal use of screen space by any means, but at least the option now exists to turn off trending content if you find it distracting.

Version 8.7.1 of the Twitter for iOS app rolls out today, and also includes a fix for a bug that meant polls wouldn't appear for users on ‌iPhone‌.

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Twitter for Mac Gains Improved Touch Bar Support

Twitter this week updated its Twitter for Mac app, introducing improved Touch Bar support for those who have a Mac with a Touch Bar.

According to the release notes for the update, it includes Touch Bar options for switching tabs and searching when the main window is in focus along with new buttons when using the composer to create a tweet or viewing a user's profile page.

Twitter for Mac's Touch Bar interfaces from MacRumors reader Noah Evans

Twitter's full release notes for the update are below:
We made a number of improvements to Twitter. A few highlights specific to Twitter for Mac:

Fixed: App freezes for text input or delete with certain languages such as Chinese

- Improvement: added buttons to switch tabs to touch bar when main app window is in focus
- Improvement: added search button to touch bar when main app window is in focus
- Improvement: added more buttons to touch bar when composer is in focus
- Improvement: added more buttons to touch bar when viewing a user's profile page
Twitter released this new version of Twitter for Mac back in October, when macOS Catalina came out. ‌macOS Catalina‌ was built using Apple's Catalyst feature that allows iPad apps to be ported over to the Mac.

Catalyst allowed Twitter to re-release Twitter for Mac, which it had previously discontinued early in 2018. The Twitter for Mac app offers a design and capabilities similar to the iPhone and ‌iPad‌ apps, but with Mac-specific tweaks such as Touch Bar support.

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Twitter Brings Emoji Reactions to Direct Messages

Twitter has announced support for emoji reactions in its direct messages. The new feature lets you respond to DMs without having to type anything, similar to the reactions available to iMessage users when they want to acknowledge messages without sending a proper reply.

To use the new emoji reactions in Twitter, either tap the small heart icon with the plus sign merging into it that appears to the right of each message bubble, or double-tap a message to reveal an emoji reactions menu.

There are seven emoji at present, including staple reactions like laughing face, sad face, thumbs up, and heart. All participants in a conversation get notified when you lay down an emoji, but you can also undo them at any time.

Twitter first started testing emoji reactions last year, but the feature has now rolled out on mobile and web. Twitter's support page notes that anyone using an older version of its official app will only see text instead of emoji.

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Twitter Adding ‘Conversation Participants’ Option to Limit Replies to Tweets

At CES, Twitter's director of product management Suzanne Xie outlined some new features that are coming to the social network, and The Verge has shared details on what we can expect.

In the future, Twitter will add a "conversation participants" option on the screen where a tweet is composed. Twitter users will be able to choose between four options: Global, Group, Panel, and Statement.

The Global feature will let anyone reply, while Group will limit replies to people a Twitter user follows and mentions. Panel will allow people specifically mentioned in a tweet to reply, and Statement will presumably disable replies all together.

As The Verge points out, this will allow Twitter users to limit the spread of their tweets with a middle ground between public and private.

Twitter is also planning to add a specific conversation view that puts all of a conversation on a single screen, making it easy to sort through different tweets and their replies.

Other features in the works include list display customization, prompts for following topics, and options to make it easier to find lists.

There's no word on when these new features might come to Twitter, but the conversation participants option is slated to be added this year.

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Twitter Bans Animated PNG Image Files After Attackers Target Users With Epilepsy

Twitter has banned the use of animated PNG image (APNG) files on its platform, after attackers targeted the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter account using images that could potentially causes seizures in photo-sensitive individuals.

The company said it had discovered a bug that allowed users to bypass its autoplay settings and enabled several animated images to be attached to a single tweet using the APNG file format.
"We want everyone to have a safe experience on Twitter," the company said in a tweet sent from its Accessibility account on Monday.

"PNGs were fun, but they don't respect autoplay settings, so we're removing the ability to add them to tweets. This is for the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy."

The attacks on the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter account occurred in November, which was National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Twitter said that it was not aware that APNG files had been used, but the bug meant that they had the potentially to be harmful, so it had decided to ban them on the social media platform.

It's unknown how many people may have been affected by the animated images, which exploited strobing light effects with malicious intent. The Epilepsy Foundation said it had filed criminal complaints against the accounts believed to have been responsible.

In addition to the seizure risk, Twitter said the APNGs also used up a lot of data and in some cases could be a direct cause of app crashes. As such, from now on only GIFs will be able to animate images.

Twitter also said that it would look into building a similar feature in the absence of APNGs, such as adding alt-text to GIFs, which will help make them more accessible to people who depend on screen readers to navigate the internet.

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Twitter for iPad Updated With Redesigned Interface and Multi-Column Layout

Twitter today updated its official Twitter app for iPad with a redesigned interface that makes better use of the iOS device's larger screen.

The new Twitter interface on ‌iPad‌, first spotted by Applesfera

Up until now, Twitter on ‌iPad‌ adopted the exact same interface as on the iPhone, which meant ‌iPad‌ users were presented with a single timeline with two big white unused spaces on either side of it.

Fortunately, the update sees Twitter for ‌iPad‌ ditch the single timeline layout of the previous version and replace it with a multi-column view that works in both portrait and landscape mode and puts a lot more content at the user's fingertips.

If the design looks familiar, that's because it's pretty similar to the Twitter web app layout. The menu bar has been relocated from the bottom of the screen to the left side of the timeline, while trending topics and other variable content appear on the right side of the timeline.

Unlike third-party clients, Twitter has seemingly opted to keep things simple in its official app, as there's no way to customize the three-column view to display things like additional timelines, direct messages, or mentions. But the update at least means the additional screen real estate of ‌iPad‌ is no longer being under-utilized.

Twitter on ‌iPad‌ is a free download available on the App Store, while existing users of the app can update to the new version today. [Direct Link]

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‘Nighthawk’ Twitter Client Launches With Smart Filters, Close Friends Timeline, and More

A new Twitter client for iPhone and iPad launched today that aims to make it easier for users to manage their timeline and make the relentless stream of content on the social platform less overwhelming.

Nighthawk for iOS comes with several Smart Filter features that go beyond the ability to mute certain words and phrases, offering hundreds of human-curated filters for hiding tweets related to everything from politics to movie spoilers.
Your timeline should reflect what you care about, not the opaque agenda of a black-box algorithm. By default, Nighthawk displays tweets in the timeline chronologically, the way nature intended.

You're bound to come across some tweets that might rub you the wrong way, which is why Nighthawk provides tons of human-curated filters. Looking to take a break from election chatter? Add the U.S. Politics filter. Excited to see The Rise of Skywalker? Add the Star Wars filter and hide tweets with potential spoilers.
In addition to the topic filters, Nighthawk features a Close Friends timeline that surfaces tweets from users that you're likely to be most interested in seeing and hides everything else.

In that sense, the Close Friends feature is a bit like a Twitter list, but Nighthawk's developers say they've built the interface from the ground up with speed and accessibility in mind, so it should be a more enjoyable experience.

Nighthawk's developers say they're not trying to compete with or replace popular third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Rather, they see Nighthawk as a companion to these clients in offering users a more personal, streamlined Twitter experience when they want it.

Other Nighthawk features include rich link previews, haptic feedback, custom home screen icons, and dark and light modes that can switch dynamically with the system. The app costs $3.99 upfront, doesn't include ads and doesn't harvest user data. Nighthawk is available on the App Store today. [Direct Link]

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Twitter Finally Launches Support for Live Photos, Allowing Them to Be Uploaded as GIFs

Twitter today announced support for Apple's Live Photos, which can now be uploaded to Twitter and shared as GIFs.

Apple first introduced ‌Live Photos‌ in 2015 alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, though most social networks still do not support the format and do not allow ‌Live Photos‌ to play when uploaded.

‌Live Photos‌ are designed to add movement to still photos to bring them to life, similar to the moving photos in the Harry Potter films. When you take a photo on an ‌iPhone‌ with ‌Live Photos‌ enabled, the ‌iPhone‌ captures a few seconds of video before and after the shot to enable the movement.

‌Live Photos‌ are primarily able to be viewed from ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌, but there are apps that can convert them into formats supported by social networks like GIFs and videos, which is what Twitter is planning to do.

Uploading a Live Photo to Twitter to share in a tweet will convert the Live Photo into a GIF that displays the animation. Users just need to select a Live Photo in the Twitter app on iOS and then tap the GIF button to upload.

Those who want to share a Live Photo but don't want it to be shared as an animated GIF can just avoid tapping the GIF button, which will cause it to be uploaded as a traditional still photo.

‌Live Photos‌ support is rolling out to the Twitter app today.

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