Twitter To Add Edit Button…Finally
I spoke with Robyn Bresnahan on CBC Ottawa Morning on 07-Apr-2022 about the announcement and it’s implications. Have a listen
now that everyone is asking…
yes, we’ve been working on an edit feature since last year!
no, we didn’t get the idea from a poll
we're kicking off testing within @TwitterBlue Labs in the coming months to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible.
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) April 5, 2022
This statement from Twitter comes as no surprise. Shock is probably a better word. The “edit” button has long been requested with many rumours swirling about it.
While it feels like a simple change, behind the scenes there’s a ton of engineering work that needs to be done. Twitter was designed as a write once, read many system. Changing that fundamental truth won’t be easy.
It’s like building a one story house and then deciding you actually want a two story home. It’s possible, but takes a lot of time and work to do properly.
So Twitter can make this change but it’ll take time…and has taken a long time.
In addition to the engineering challenges, there are safety and misinformation concerns. Lots of them.
2/ Edit has been the most requested Twitter feature for many years. People want to be able to fix (sometimes embarrassing) mistakes, typos and hot takes in the moment. They currently work around this by deleting and tweeting again.
— Jay Sullivan (@jaysullivan) April 5, 2022
This thread from Jay Sullivan dives into some of the issues in this thread.
Think of it this way. Without safeguards, if a country’s leader replies to a tweet with, “I agree with this” and then the original tweet is edited to something completely different, misinformation will spread. Yes, corrections can be made but corrections rarely get the same attention as the original.
This is why Twitter is working on and discussing what safeguards to add. A “blank cheque” edit just won’t work. It would upend what little credibility is left in the Twitterverse.