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Internet Reacts to “Fleets,” Tweets that Disappear After 24 Hours

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  • On Wednesday, Twitter announced that it is testing a new feature in Brazil that allows users to publish content that will disappear after 24 hours. 
  • The temporary posts, called “Fleets,” were created in hopes that users share more of their “fleeting thoughts.” Fleets may be rolled out in other countries later on, depending on how the test goes.  
  • Some are mocking the feature’s name, which matches a brand name enema. Others are disappointed that Twitter is rolling out this change as opposed to others.
  • But some are excited about the new addition and think it is a good idea.

New Feature

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it is testing a new feature that allows content to disappear after 24 hours, similar to the “stories” component across other social media platforms.

The temporary posts — called “fleets” — are text-based but are also able to be accompanied by photos, videos, and GIFs. Fleets can be viewed by tapping on somebody’s profile picture, but they cannot be retweeted. Similar to Instagram stories, any replies or reactions to fleets are sent as direct messages to the creator instead of posted publicly. 

Currently, the test is only available for Twitter users in Brazil. It was introduced there first because it is one of the countries where people talk the most on the platform, according to Twitter’s product manager Mo Al Adham. Depending on how the test goes, it’s possible that fleets will be made available in other countries.

Kayvon Beykpour, the company’s product lead, revealed the rationale behind the new feature in a series of tweets on Wednesday. 

“People often tell us that they don’t feel comfortable Tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative,” Beykpour wrote. 

“We’re hoping that Fleets can help people share the fleeting thoughts that they would have been unlikely to Tweet,”  Beykpour added. “This is a substantial change to Twitter, so we’re excited to learn by testing it (starting with the rollout today in Brazil) and seeing how our customers use it.”

Fleets have the potential to ease users’ worries about what they post online, as old tweets have led people to lose jobs and be publicly slammed, but it’s still unclear exactly how low-risk these posts are. After reaching the end of their 24-hour life cycle, fleets will be kept by Twitter for a limited time in case of any rule violations.

“We’ll maintain a copy of fleets for a limited time after they are deleted to enforce any rule violations and so people can appeal enforcement actions,” Aly Pavela, a communications manager at Twitter, told Wired.

After this review period, Fleets will be deleted from the company’s systems, according to CNN. But this still begs the question of whether the disappearing content can simply be screenshotted and saved in that way, a detail Twitter hasn’t formally addressed yet. 

Internet Reacts

Upon hearing of Twitter’s test, some were quick to crack jokes about the new feature’s name, which happens to match the brand name of a widely-used enema.

“Tw*tter moments are gonna be called fleets? like the enemas? why? cuz it’s shitty??? LOL,” one user wrote.

As Fleet enemas are widely recognized among the LGBTQ community, several users questioned how the new feature’s name was greenlighted.

Twitter was quick to respond to the mockery, and a message from their communications team revealed that they are indeed familiar with the title.

“Yes we know what fleets means. thanks – gay intern,” the team tweeted from their official account.

Others had a more serious response to the temporary posts feature, expressing their disappointment in the company for rolling this out instead of other changes that users have been requesting for years. On Wednesday night, the hashtag #RIPTwitter was trending.

However, some thought the idea was a good one that will boost the company’s success and engagement. 

See what others are saying: (NBC) (CNN) (Wired)

Business

Target Joins Walmart in Offering Free College Tuition To Attract and Retain Workers

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The decision makes Target the latest major company to dangle such incentives before employees, joining the likes of Walmart, Chipotle, and Starbucks.


Target Launches Debt-Free Education Asssitance Program

Target announced new employee perks on Wednesday that it likely hopes will help attract and retain workers. 

Starting this fall, Target will cover the cost of tuition, fees, and textbooks for both part-time and full-time workers who pursue degrees or certificates at more than 40 participating institutions.

Employees will have at least 250 different business-aligned programs to choose from, including Business, Computer Science, Design, and more.

Target will also fund advanced degrees, paying up to $10,000 each year for master’s programs at those schools, and it’s offering up to 5,250 for those pursuing non-master’s degrees or business-aligned programs at one of the select schools.

The company said it plans to invest a total of $200 million in the education program over the next four years, and employees in the U.S. will qualify as soon as their first day.

“Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career. A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

Companies With Similar Perks

Places like Chipotle and Starbucks have already had similar education programs in place, but more companies have been introducing or expanding on similar policies as businesses across the country struggle to find and retain workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Just last week, Walmart announced that it will cover the full cost of college tuition and books for itsemployees, after previously requiring them to pay $1 a day for the assistance. Those workers can now select from around 10 academic partners.

While many have applauded these actions from big corporations, others have noted that it makes it tougher for smaller businesses to compete since they don’t have the same resources at their disposal.

There is some concern about how this could change the business landscape in the future as a handful of large companies dominate in their own sectors and siphon a lot of the talent, forcing smaller competitors to close. Still, others argue that this was already happening. At least now, the big players are investing and support their workforce while doing it.

See what others are saying: (CNBC) (The Hill) (Forbes)

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Tencent Stock Plummet as Company Weighs Video Games Ban for Kids in China

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The world’s largest game developer appears fearful that the Chinese government will launch another crackdown on gaming similar to one it launched in 2019 when it limited game time for minors.


No More Video Games

Tencent Holdings, Ltd. — China’s most valuable corporation and the world’s largest gaming company — announced Tuesday that it would consider completely banning games for those under 12-years-old in China.

Tencent also announced that it will now limit playtime for Chinese minors to just 1 hour during weekdays and no more than 2 hours during weekends and holidays. Under a Chinese law set up in 2019, game developers are required to limit minors to just 1 hour and 30 minutes of playtime during weekdays and 3 hours during weekends and holidays.

Additionally, the company explained that it will move forward with plans to enact systems that bar those under 12 from engaging in microtransactions, starting with the largest mobile game, “Honor of Kings” (王者荣耀). It’s possible the ban will extend to some of Tencent’s other holdings, such as “League of Legends” (Riot Games) and “Path of Exile” (Grinding Gear Games), although these changes will likely only affect Chinese users.

Tencent’s decision comes just a day after the Economic Information Daily, a subsidiary of state media giant Xinhua News, said in a now-deleted article that video games were “spiritual opium” and that no industry should continue in a manner that will “destroy a generation.”

Likening video games to opium holds cultural significance in China, which has long disliked narcotics and is sensitive to comparisons to the drug. Using such language, especially by state media, is often seen as a sign that the government is ready to crack down on the industry.

Crackdown Fears

Those fears largely played out over a 24-hour period as shares for Tencent and NetEase, another large game developer in China, plummeted. Tencent’s shares dropped by 11% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, although it eventually settled at just a 6% loss by the end of Tuesday.

It wasn’t just Chinese gaming companies that were worried. The announcement sent ripples across the entire industry as Nintendo, Capcom, and Nexon shares all were heavily affected as well. One of the reasons that such an article can cast widespread concern is that China has increasingly become the largest market in the $180 billion video game industry, making it larger than the global movie industry and North American professional sports, combined.

Coupled with the recent fall of ActivisionBlizzard’s stock over the last two weeks due to its sexual assault lawsuit and other industry shakeups, over a trillion dollars of market value was wiped out at one point on Tuesday.

See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Time) (Fox Business)

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Google Is Banning “Sugar Dating” Apps as Part of New Sexual Content Restrictions

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The change essentially targets apps like Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangements, Spoil, and tons of other sugar dating platforms.


Sugar Dating Crackdown

Google has announced a series of policy changes to its Android Play Store that include a ban on sugar dating apps starting September 1.

The company’s Play Store policies already prohibit apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.”

Now, it has updated its wording to specifically include “compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant (‘sugar dating’).”

The change essentially targets apps like Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangements, Spoil, and tons of other sugar dating platforms currently available for download.

Search results for “Sugar Daddy” on Google’s Play Store

What Prompted the Change?

The company didn’t explain why it’s going after sugar dating apps, but some reports have noted that the move comes amid crackdowns of online sex work following the introduction of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation in 2018, which was meant to curb sex trafficking.

That’s because FOSTA-SESTA created an exception to Section 230 that means website publishers can be held liable if third parties are found to be promoting prostitution, including consensual sex work, on their platforms.

It’s worth noting that just because the apps will no longer be available on the Play Store doesn’t mean the sugar dating platforms themselves are going anywhere. Sugar daters will still be able to access them through their web browsers, or they can just sideload their apps from other places.

Still, the change is likely going to make the use of these sites a little less convenient.

See what others are saying: (The Verge)(Engadget)(Tech Times)

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