(Pocket-lint) – It’s almost a joke at this point because Twitter users have been wanting it for so long: An edit feature. But it looks like the feature might actually arrive soon, and it isn’t only due to Elon Musk.
Twitter has announced it’s developing a way for users to edit tweets after they post them. Imagine you’ve tweeted something only to read it back later and discover you published an error. With an edit button, you could fix your mistake, without having to delete and re-tweet and mess up all the replies and retweets. Twitter plans to test the feature with Blue subscribers in “the coming months”.
In 2018, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey dashed any hopes of an edit feature when he noted such a feature could open the door to users changing a tweet’s meaning after it’s shared. Two years later, he reiterated that sentiment, saying Twitter would “probably never” release an edit feature. Critics have argued, however, that Twitter could always show an edit version history, allowing users to see the original tweet in all its typo glory as well as the updated version.
So, the belief that an edited tweet could mislead has never really held water.
Interestingly, when Parag Agrawal became the CEO of Twitter, the tides began to shift. In fact, on April Fool’s Day, Twitter’s official account said it was “working on an edit feature”. Then, when Elon Musk bought a 9.2 per cent stake in the company, he shared a poll with his Twitter followers asking whether the platform should introduce an edit feature. A wide majority were in favor.
1/ We’ve been exploring how to build an Edit feature in a safe manner since last year and plan to begin testing it within @TwitterBlue Labs in the coming months. Sharing a few more insights on how we’re thinking about Edit https://t.co/WbcfkUue8e
— Jay Sullivan (@jaysullivan) April 5, 2022
Now, Jay Sullivan, the company’s VP of consumer product, has said that an edit feature has been “the most requested Twitter feature for many years”, and that Twitter has been exploring it since last year. “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 explained.
“Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work.”
If an edit feature does launch, it would be different from the undo feature that lets you recall a tweet before you share it. That’s only available to Blue subscribers.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.