It’s a feature Twitter users have been asking for for so long that it’s become a meme, but now the mythical “edit” button is becoming a reality. Twitter has announced that it is working on allowing users to edit their tweets after they have been posted. The idea is that you can correct typos or mistakes in a tweet without sacrificing replies, retweets, or likes that have already been generated. Twitter plans to test the feature with Twitter Blue subscribers in the coming months. the company said on Tuesday:†
Jay Sullivan, the company’s VP of consumer products, said editing “has been the most requested Twitter feature for many years.” in a thread on Tuesday† The company has been investigating how the function can be built ‘in a safe way’ since last year.
“Without things like time limits, controls, and transparency about what was edited, Edit could be abused to change the public conversation record,” he said† “Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority as we approach this work.”
3/ Without things like time limits, controls and transparency about what has been edited, Edit could be abused to change the recording of the public conversation. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority as we approach this work.
— Jay Sullivan (@jaysullivan) Apr 5, 2022
People have been asking for an edit button for so long that it has become an ongoing joke. “Tweets, but editable” has become the standard response to discovering a typo in a popular tweet. But former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been reluctant to add such a feature in the past. Speaking in 2018, Dorsey expressed concern that an edit button could allow users to change the meaning of a tweet after it’s been widely shared, and in 2020 said Twitter would “probably never add” the feature.
Such concerns have consistently cropped up around requests for an edit button. But as my colleague Casey Newton argued in 2017, numerous other platforms, including Facebook, Medium, and Instagram, already allow users to edit their posts, and the features have not been subject to widespread abuse. But that doesn’t mean abuse is unheard of. According to Meta’s former chief security officer Alex StamosFacebook’s editing feature has been abused in the past, in one case to aid a cryptocurrency scam.
Twitter’s view on an edit button seems to have shifted after Parag Agrawal became CEO. On April 1, the annual Business Lies Day, the official Twitter account said it “working on an edit button.While it was taken as a joke at the time, Twitter product leader Michael Sayman later pointed to the tweet as the “official statement” on the function.
Days later, after it emerged that Elon Musk had bought a 9.2 percent stake in the company, the Tesla CEO’s first significant tweet to poll his followers was whether Twitter should add an edit button. 73.4 percent were in favour.
The company already has an undo feature that lets you recall a tweet before sending it, though it’s only available to Twitter Blue subscribers.