A Twitter Edit Button May Soon Be A Reality
The company announced the feature on April Fool’s Day, but it’s no joke.
For every tweet where someone types "teh" instead of "the," there's a tweet where someone asks if, for the love of God, Twitter can just add an edit button. Well, on April 5, the platform confirmed that it was testing a Twitter edit button for Twitter Blue subscribers.
In — what else? — a tweet, the social media’s communications team said it had been working on the feature since last year, and posted a screen recording showing how the edit function could work. They first announced the feature in an April 1 tweet that was not, it turned out, an April Fool’s prank.
Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s head of consumer product, tweeted in a separate thread that an edit button “has been the most requested Twitter feature for many years,” but that “protecting the integrity of … public conversation” is the company’s top priority in building it. “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,” he tweeted. (Imagine, for instance, if a major political figure were able to edit their official tweets and claim that an earlier version of the text was, say, “fake news.”)
Currently, the only way most Twitter-ers can edit a tweet is by deleting and reposting their message, sans typo or wrong link or whatever. The downside of this system is that you lose any likes or retweets you got before noticing you said “fantasy suit” instead of “fantasy suite” in your Bachelorette recap thread.
This isn’t the first time Twitter users have come tantalizingly close to an edit button. In July 2018, reporter Logan Jaffe tweeted a screenshot of what looked like an edit option on Twitter along with a message to @twitter asking, "what have we done to please you?" As Mashable reporter at the time, journalist Christina Manduley, also posted a similar tweet, using a third-party app called TweetDeck. The edit button appeared when using a TweetDeck plug-in called Better TweetDeck, as pointed out by a couple Twitter users. Apparently, the "edit" button doesn't actually edit the tweet, either, but deletes the original tweet and sends out the new one as a one-step process. So was this an official test? In response to Jaffe's original tweet, Twitter's Communications account tweeted out a .gif of Jim from The Office shaking his head "no.”
Why Don’t I Have An Edit Button On Twitter?
The ability to test and provide feedback on the edit button will only be available to Twitter Blue subscribers, the platform’s paid premium membership. At the moment, Twitter Blue users have access to an “undo” feature for their tweets, which gives them the ability to preview their tweets before going live. Anyone (who’s based in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) can join Twitter Blue, though it costs a monthly subscription fee that varies based on your region.
There are myriad reasons why Twitter users don’t want an edit button, mostly along the lines of that previous example. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s former CEO, said in 2020 that the platform would “probably never” add one, citing a desire to preserve the early vibe of Twitter, where you tweeted via SMS. “As you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back,” Dorsey said.
Call it a vibe shift, then, because editable tweets are coming.
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