Twitter has announced that it will shut down Fleets citing low usage. Fleets were originally launched in November of 2020 and were designed to compete with Instagram and Snapchat stories.
As stated on its blog, Twitter is planning to replace the space taken up by Fleets at the top of the social media app’s feed with Spaces — its live audio chat rooms designed to compete with Clubhouse — by August 3rd. Additionally, the “compose tweet” button will receive an update that will add more camera editing features that were available for Fleets, such a text formatting and the ability to add GIF stickers over photos.
“We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, Twitter’s Head of Product, Brand, and Video Ads writes. “But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets as we hoped. Because of this, on August 3, Fleets will no longer be available on Twitter.”
Twitter will instead focus what it learned from Fleets into making other ways for its users to join conversations and discuss what is happening. Twitter doesn’t call Fleets a failure, but rather an admission that it hasn’t quite figured out how to get people to tweet more.
we’re removing Fleets on August 3, working on some new stuff
we’re sorry or you’re welcome
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 14, 2021
Brown says that the hope for Fleets was to reduce the anxieties that hold people back from tweeting more but instead found that the feature was mostly used by those who were already tweeting to amplify their own tweets instead.
“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people who already are Tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you,” he continues.
Twitter rolled out Fleet ad testing not long after Fleets were launched, and says that this was its first attempt at exploring full-screen, vertical format ads. It was an experiment and Twitter hasn’t made it clear if users can expect to see these kinds of ads again in the future.
“We’re evolving what Twitter is, and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation. A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out,” Brown says. “If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances.”
FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC
The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.
The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.
The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.
Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.
In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.
Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.
But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.
“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.
“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.
“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.
The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.
The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.
It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.
Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to Hit 6.5B Users by 2023, an 800 Million Increase in Two Years
Last year has witnessed a surge in the number of social media users, with billions of people spending more time than ever on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube amid the lockdowns. However, the world’s largest social media platforms continued their growth in 2021 with no signs of stopping in the years to come.
According to data presented by StockApps, the combined number of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram users, as the three most popular social media platforms globally, is expected to hit 5.7 billion this year. The increasing trend is set to continue in the following years, with the number of users growing by another 800 million to 6.5 billion in 2023.
340 Million New Facebook Users in Three Years
As the leading social media app worldwide, Facebook has witnessed a remarkable growth of its user base. In 2019, the popular social media platform had over 2.1 billion million active users, revealed the Statista Key Market Indicators data. After the pandemic struck and millions of people started spending more time indoors and online, the number of Facebook users rose to nearly 2.3 billion. This figure is expected to hit 2.4 billion in 2021. By 2023, the number of people using Facebook is forecast to hit 2.63 billion, a 340 million increase in three years.
The Statista data showed Asia is the region with the biggest Facebook audience worldwide. In 2021, there were over 1.1 billion Facebook users across all Asian markets, and this figure is projected to grow to 1.24 billion in 2023. The Americas and Europe follow, with 665 million and 385 million users as of this year.
However, the world’s second-largest social media platform, YouTube, witnessed even more impressive growth. Last year, around 2.1 billion people worldwide had been using YouTube. India accounted for the biggest share of that number, with 373 million users in 2020. The United States and Brazil followed with 205 million and 145 million users, respectively.
Statista data indicated the number of people using YouTube is set to jump to 2.24 billion in 2021 and continue growing to 2.56 billion in 2023, a 15% increase in two years.
Instagram Witnessed the Biggest User Growth
Although Facebook and YouTube convincingly lead in the number of users, Instagram, as the third most popular social media platform in 2021, is the most rapidly evolving.
Instagram’s user growth has been consistent and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Last year, the photo and video-sharing social networking app hit 926 million users, an impressive 140 million increase in a year. Also, according to Sensor Tower data, Instagram was among the top five most downloaded apps in both the App Store and via Google Play last year.
In 2021, Instagram`s user base is forecast to hit over one billion for the first time, a massive milestone that was seemingly only reserved for social media giants like Facebook. By 2023, the number of people using Instagram is expected to grow by another 23% and hit 1.3 billion worldwide.
Nigeria’s Twitter Ban Leaves Some Businesses in the Lurch
Lagos-based entrepreneur Ogechi Egemonu was selling more than 500,000 naira ($1,219) worth of watches, shoes and handbags on Twitter per week.
Now, with the site suspended by the Nigerian government, Egemonu does not know how she will cope.
“Social media is where I eat,” she told Reuters. “I depend on social media for my livelihood.”
Scores of small and medium-sized businesses across Africa’s most populous nation – and largest economy – are reeling from the indefinite suspension of the social media site.
Nigeria announced the suspension on June 4, days after the platform removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional separatists. Most telecommunications sites have since blocked access.
NOI Polls estimates that 39.6 million Nigerians use Twitter – 20% of them for business advertisement and 18% to look for employment. Experts warn its lack of ready availability – it is accessible using Virtual Private Networks that mask location – could ripple across the economy.
“The ban has significant collateral damage,” said Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, who said that a “sizeable number of citizens” use Twitter to make a living.
Dumebi Iyeke, a research analyst with the Financial Derivatives Company, said it would hit young Nigerians – among whom there is a 45% unemployment rate – the hardest.
“We are looking at a potential loss in their revenue,” Iyeke said, adding that it could further lower living standards amid high inflation.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed last week said that all social media sites must register a local entity and get a license to operate. He cited complaints over lost money as proof that the ban was effective, but said other sites are still available.
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