Sixteen years after Twitter launched, the company finally realised the importance of an edit button. Or rather, acknowledging that a button to let users edit their tweets may do some good to it. As humans, making a typo is common. But right now, if your tweets have a typo or two, you will need to go back, delete and retweet your post all over again. Or, just add an update to the tweet thread. That’s such a hassle. No? Well, it is, for most Twitter users.
Over the years, Twitter has been stubborn about the proposed edit button. Stubborn in its will to ignore this demand from Twitter users. In 2016, former CEO Jack Dorsey raised concerns over the much-requested edit button and said that the platform might never get a feature to edit tweets.
With the new CEO Parag Agrawal and now Elon Musk part of the board, the company plans to bring “significant improvements” in the days to come. Starting with the edit button.
Hours after Twitter CEO announced Musk joining the board, the microblogging site confirmed bringing an edit button soon. The feature will be tested with Twitter Blue subscription users first and later, if things go well, others will get it. But that’s going to take some time.
The question now is: why did Twitter take so many years to bring an edit tweet feature? Answer: that’s because Dorsey was concerned that the feature could be misused to alter tweets after they are widely shared.
In an interview with The Next Web in 2016, Dorsey raised concerns over the edit button. “When we hear about the edit button, you have to pay attention not to what people are asking you for but to the use cases. What’s the question behind the question?” Dorsey had said.
“So I’ve misspelled something or I tweeted the wrong URL, and I want to correct it. So that’s a lot more achievable than allowing people to edit any tweet all the way back in time,” he added.
In the same interview, Dorsey also said the company could investigate showing a changelog or show how a tweet has been changed over a period. That’s exactly what is probably going to happen.
Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan also said that the edit feature can be misused to alter old or viral tweets. So, once the edit feature is released, it is likely that if a user edits a tweet, Twitter will show the changes she has made over the period.
“Without things like time limits, controls, and transparency about what has been edited, Edit could be misused to alter the record of the public conversation. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work,” he explained. “Therefore, it will take time and we will be actively seeking input and adversarial thinking in advance of launching Edit. We will approach this feature with care and thoughtfulness and we will share updates as we go,” he added.
This isn’t the first time that a social media platform is bringing an edit button. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram already allow users to edit their posts whenever they want, whether it is 10 years old or a new post. And on that platform, at least so far, not much abuse or misuse of the edit feature has been noticed so far.
Along with the option to edit tweets, Twitter is also testing an undo tweet option with Blue subscribers, which allows users to edit a tweet before posting it. The platform recently said that with these features, it wants to provide users with better control over their accounts.