Are we ever going to get an option to edit tweets? It seems unlikely, but every time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gets asked about it, he appears to suggest that it may be possible, and may be made available sometime soon. But it probably won’t be.
At an event in India over the weekend, Dorsey was once again asked about the option to edit tweets – here’s what he said:
“When we hear about the edit button, we usually hear… You have to pay attention not to what people are asking for, but the use cases, what’s the question behind the question, and a lot of people want edit because they make mistakes on Twitter and they want to quickly fix them – they don’t want to look bad. I 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 way back in time. Because what happens with that, if I say something, like, I tweet something that you agree with, and you retweet that, and then I edit my tweet to something that you disagree with, you’ve retweeted now something that you disagree with, and that’s what we need to prevent.”
Dorsey goes on to note that they’re looking at various options relating to changelog details and tracking any changes, but essentially, they don’t want to provide the capacity retrospectively edit all tweets, only quick typos – which hints at what Twitter has discussed before, with a 5-minute editing window or similar.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure that we’re solving a real problem, and solving a use case that people are seeing as friction within the service. […] We’ve been considering edit for some time, but we have to do it the right way, we can’t just rush it out.”
The last time Dorsey discussed the same in any detail was in late 2016, when, inspired by AirBnB’s Brian Chesky, Doresy put out a call for suggestions on how to improve Twitter. Adding an edit function was one of the top requests, and as noted, at that time, Dorsey brought up the 5-minute edit window option.
That seemed to indicate that Twitter may have been on the verge of testing such a function, given that Dorsey raised it, and seems to be looking for parameters to enact. But it never appeared.
Given this, it’s hard to say if Dorsey’s new responses mean much, as he’s said the same, in more detail, previously.
Really, most of the logic behind not enabling tweet editing seems flawed – you can share Facebook posts, which can be edited, and that hasn’t become a significant issue. Sure, Tweets are shorter, so even the slightest edit could significantly alter the meaning, but I’m not sure people would use it with the ill-intent suggested, effectively tricking re-tweeters by flipping the meaning of their original message.
But then again, people are already using Twitter’s existing functions against them. As has been highlighted by many, there’s seemingly a spate of fake Elon Musk accounts out there duping unsuspecting users with Bitcoin scams via tweet.
The difference here is that the scammers are acquiring verified accounts for these posts, which, to the user not paying attention, can lend them a lot more legitimacy. Twitter says its working to address this problem – and in itself, this highlights the issues Twitter has had with its verification process. But given this, you can see how the company may also be somewhat hesitant to open the door to another, similar misuse via tweet edits.
Basically, no one can say that tweet editing won’t be used for ill purpose, and if that’s possible, does Twitter really need to implement tweet editing? Will it really enhance the Twitter experience all that much?
When broken down into those terms, you start to get a better understanding of why the option hasn’t surfaced as yet – and possibly never will.
So will we soon be able to edit tweets? Probably not, there’s nothing to suggest its imminent. But maybe. Someday.
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