Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey, has been engaging with Twitter users and explained that the ability to edit existing Tweets was both a necessary feature but also a complicated issue. Dorsey’s remarks include that Tweet editing is “definitely needed” and one of the social network’s most-asked for features when users are asked what the most important aspect Twitter could improve in 2017. As for the complications of the issue, Dorsey asks if Tweets should only be able to be fixed in a short time frame so as to correct a quick mistake, which would make sense given Twitter’s microblogging functionality. However, the ability to amend a Tweet would compromise retweeting (RT) and quoting Tweets. One possible solution may include a user being able to edit a posted Tweet within a short time frame, say thirty to sixty minutes, otherwise the service may need to include a revision history feature. The feature could be implemented until a Tweet is quoted or retweeted. Dorsey also alluded that any ability to edit a Tweet would be for all users and not just those with the blue “verified” badge over their account.
One of the concerns that existing Twitter users have with the ability to edit existing Tweets is how something could easily be changed; currently, a Tweet may be removed from the Twitter stream and a replacement written, which fits in with how Twitter is very much an “at the moment” service for many users, is conversational in use and this includes mistakes and typographical errors. Editing an existing Tweet could very well change how the service is used. For some users, adding the ability to edit a Tweet would open up the service to misuse the platform and share fake news stories, something that has plagued Facebook in the run up to the US Presidential election in November 2016 and which is likely to continue to generate headlines for the coming months as the social media platforms try to clamp down on the spreading of false stories.
Although Twitter’s CEO supports the ability to edit a Tweet, this is in itself no guarantee that the service will include the functionality in the coming year. Should the ability to edit Tweets be made available, we do not know when or for whom. From the discussion around editing Tweets on the Twitter platform, it appears that the service have many things to consider before implementing a change – and that any change will frustrate and disappoint some Twitter users.