Twitter confirmed via a tweet that an edit button is coming. Not to everyone. Just Twitter Blue subscribers as a test.
Why we care. Whether you use Twitter personally, professionally or both, you’ve probably tweeted something, only to realize a few seconds or minutes later that there was an error. Maybe it was a typo. Maybe you forgot a link. Whatever it was, it meant you had to delete the tweet and start over – sometimes losing engagement (replies, favorites, retweets). It’s annoying. So this will be good news for marketers and brands if this feature finally becomes available to all users.
Twitter + Elon Musk = edit button? On April Fools Day, Twitter tweeted “we are working on an edit button”. Was it a joke? At the time was largely viewed as Twitter trolling its user base about the most-requested feature for years that Twitter refused to give its users: an edit button.
Apparently, it wasn’t a joke.
This was the second such tweet aimed at its newest (and largest) shareholder and board member, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, within 24 hours. The other was a response to Musk’s Twitter poll, in which he asked a simple question: Do you want an edit button?
As of publishing, 73% of the 4 million voters said Yes. (Well, technically they voted yse, because the options Musk gave were both misspellings.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, in response, tweeted “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” Was that passive-aggressive or a friendly throwback to this tweet? Hard to tell. At that time, Musk was running a poll on whether Twitter adheres to the principle of freedom of speech. (70% said No to that one.)
Not rocket science. An edit button is not like trying to get a rocket to Mars. Yet Twitter has seemed unable or unwilling to figure it out until this point.
What is Twitter concerned about? According to this thread by Jay Sullivan, head of consumer product at Twitter, an edit button could “alter the record of the public conversation.” Twitter is apparently committed to being the protector of the integrity of public conversations. Typos and all. But if that’s the case, why allow a delete button?
Twitter users get it. The consensus from Twitter users is pretty uniform: limit editing of tweets to a certain amount of time, note within that tweet that it has been edited and be transparent about what’s changed with an edit history. Again, this isn’t rocket science.
In fact, as this tweet points out, Facebook figured out how to do this years ago. All you need to do is indicate to users that the tweet has been edited since it was published and allow users to see those edits in a changelog.