Twitter tweeted on Tuesday that it was actually working out a way for users to edit their 280-character messages, although it said the edit-function with the project was revealed by fan Elon Musk as the company’s largest shareholder and now sits on its board.
Twitter says it will test the feature on its paid service, Twitter Blue, in the coming months. It says the test will help “learn what works, what doesn’t and what is possible.” So most Twitter users may take some time to use it, if they ever do. Twitter spokeswoman Katherine Hill declined to say whether an editing feature could be introduced for all users.
Many Twitter users – including Kim Kardashian, Ice T, Katy Perry and McDonald’s corporate accounts – have long begged for an edit button. The company itself recently annoyed users with April Fool’s Day tweets saying “we’re working on an edit button.” The official Twitter account said Tuesday that the April 1 tweet was not a joke and has been working on it since last year.
Now 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 starting the experiment inside TwitterBlue Labs in the coming months to learn what works, what doesn’t and what is possible.
– Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) April 5, 2022
Twitter also said it did not get the idea from a Twitter poll launched by Tesla CEO Musk on Monday evening. Musk, himself a Twitter power user, asked followers if they wanted an edit button, spelling “yes” as “yes” and “no” as “on”. As of Tuesday evening, more than 4 million people had voted.
Musk further tweeted that he was “looking forward to significant improvements on Twitter in the coming months!”
Jay Sullivan, vice president of consumer products for Twitter, tweeted on Tuesday that an editing function was one of Twitter’s most sought-after new features over the years, noting that people wanted to fix mistakes, typo and “hot taxes”.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter considered an edit button, but retained the question in January 2020 that “we will probably never do that.” He noted that Twitter’s current setup retains the spirit of its text-message source – text cannot be edited – and that users may be confused by switching to a tweet already widely circulated by others. Dorsey resigned as CEO in November 2021.
Those who study Twitter also say that adding an edit button will probably change the nature of Twitter, making it less valuable as a historical warehouse that preserves official statements from politicians and other high-profile individuals. Twitter, for better or worse, has become “de facto newswear,” said Jennifer Grigiel, a professor of communications at Syracuse University and a social media expert who studies propaganda.
Tweets are often embedded in news stories, which can cause problems when users edit important or controversial tweets without proof of originality. Grygiel instead suggested giving Twitter users a window to edit their tweets before publishing them.
Allowing powerful Twitter users to edit their tweets means they will no longer be historic statements, Grigiel said. “We need to think about what the impact is, what these tweets are, who has the power.”
The agency acknowledged the concerns Tuesday evening when Sullivan tweeted: “Edits can be abused to change the record of public conversations, except for things like time limits, controls and transparency about what has been edited. Protecting integrity is our highest priority. “
Musk also said that the proposal for a few minutes of post-publication edit window “seems reasonable.”
Musk is someone who can seemingly use an edit button. His tweet about Tesla taking 420 (approximately Rs. 31,700) per share privately, when the funds were not secured, resulted in a EC 40 million (approximately Rs. 302 crore) SEC settlement and Musk’s tweets need to be approved by a corporate lawyer. Kasturi is still fighting over the settlement.
Twitter previously seemed to be adopting a tongue-in-cheek approach to the mask vote. Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal retweeted the poll, apparently in an earlier tweet from Mask, saying “the results of this poll will be important – please vote carefully.” Musk used the same language in a March tweet describing another poll in which he was asked if Twitter adhered to freedom of speech principles.