Twitter users have a love-hate relationship with the recently introduced missing content feature called Fleet. Some find it enjoyable to play on the platform, while others find it an unnecessary distraction that is a little late to the game. But like it or like it, it seems like it’s there to stay, at least for now. But less than a week after its implementation for all its users, there seems to be a bug that makes the supposedly fleeting tweets not disappear completely.
To be clear, while your Fleet may disappear from your account after 24 hours, Twitter actually keeps it on their server for up to 30 days and maybe even longer for those who break the rules. The fleet is stored in the user’s Twitter data download as long as it is on Twitter’s servers. But it should not be accessible to other people after the fleet has already expired. It seems like a bug is causing others to still view and even download it and it won’t tell you that someone has.
But Tech Crunch reveals that there is a bug that allows an application that interacts with the Twitter backend through its developer API to still access fleets that have supposedly already elapsed. Each fleet has its own direct URL that opens as an image or video. The app is supposed to be able to pull fleets from public accounts on Twitter, but it shouldn’t be able to do so after the fleet has disappeared from public view.
For its part, Twitter said it was aware of this error that has made expired tweets accessible through this “technical solution.” They said they are working on a fix that will be rolled out to Twitter soon, but as of this writing, it appears that the API can still load fleets from direct URLs. We don’t know how long it is supposed to be “deployed shortly”, so users better be aware that their fleets are coming back to chase them.
Of course, it’s not a big deal and we don’t know what percentage of Twitter users are using fleets. But for something that is supposed to be short-lived, having it somewhere for more than 24 hours may not be as appealing on Twitter.