Twitter's CEO and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was speaking at an event in New Delhi this past weekend, and stated that the company is looking to add an "Edit" button for Tweets. Dorsey stated that the company is thinking of adding that feature as a way to fix typos in Tweets. Whether those typos are from auto-correct or from just typing too fast, these are the main reasons why people want to be able to edit Tweets. But Twitter has been reluctant to add the feature, because people could completely change the Tweet after it has gone viral, and be a bigger proponent for fake news. But the idea of editing tweets has not gone away from Twitter's mind, which is a good thing.
Dorsey stated in New Delhi that "you have to pay attention to what are the use cases for the edit button. A lot of people want the edit button because they want to quickly fix a mistake they made. Like a misspelling or tweeting the wrong URL. That's a lot more achievable than allowing people to edit any tweet all the way back in time." That is specifically what Twitter doesn't want to happen. And that is why you likely will never see Twitter offering unlimited edits on tweets. Instead, it is more likely that you get a small window of time to edit a tweet before it can no longer be edited. Allowing you to quickly fix a typo, or change a link, but not change the substance of the tweet. Dorsey also added that "we have been considering this for a while and we have to do it in the right way. We can't just rush it out. We can't make something which is distracting or takes anything away from the public record." That is also very true, Twitter has become the way a lot of people get their news, and it is public record. Being able to edit a public record to say whatever you want, is not a good thing, and shouldn't be the way this is done. An Edit button has been a very big issue for Twitter in the past few years, even Kim Kardashian asked Dorsey about getting an edit button on Twitter, as people want to be able to edit out those typos. So it's definitely on Dorsey and the rest of Twitter's mind, but Dorsey doesn't want to rush out an Edit button and have it backfire, which is totally understandable.
Background: When Dorsey came back to Twitter and became the CEO in 2015, there were a number of things that users wanted Dorsey to change and/or fix. One of the most popular items was making tweets editable. Dorsey has repeatedly talked about making tweets editable, but not confirming that the feature was coming. Dorsey first talked about it back in 2016, and stated that it is something they were looking into, but hadn't really figured out how exactly it was going to be done. Now, Twitter is a bit closer to figuring out how to make these tweets editable, but it is still not rolled out just yet.
Twitter is in a bit of a sticky situation here. Sure, Google+ and Facebook do allow you to edit your status and posts, but Twitter is a different beast. For a lot of news websites, tweets are embedded into articles to showcase the source, or an issue. Now if those embedded tweets were edited to say something completely different, it would discredit the journalist that wrote the article, even though they didn't do anything wrong. It's a slippery slope for Twitter there. Ideas have floated around, about showing an edit history for individual tweets, but that would also need a lot more server space, especially if a tweet is edited quite a bit. Especially when you take into account that around 500 million tweets are sent everyday, and nearly 200 billion per year, and it's only going up from there. So Twitter would really need to expand its infrastructure to allow for an edit history for every single tweet. But it is an idea, as you can see what the tweet initially said, and see why the person decided to edit that tweet.
Impact: Twitter has made a lot of changes over the past couple of years, after Dorsey became CEO for the second time. However, the number one complaint has still not been addressed – or rather, taken care of. Which is editing tweets. People aren't wanting to be able to edit tweets to change the substance of the tweet, but to fix their typos. Editing tweets is something that really should be a very simple feature, one that you would have thought that Twitter added years ago. After all, Twitter is over 10 years old now – getting closer to 15 years old now. Twitter has really grown over the past five years or so, and a lot of news is broken on Twitter. Whether that's news from Washington at the White House or on Capital Hill, or in the tech industry when a smartphone leaks. That leads to Twitter being the source for a lot of things, and being able to edit that source is not something Twitter wants to allow to happen. And that is especially true now that there are so many issues with Fake News roaming around.
It does sound like, according to Dorsey's speech in India this week, that editable tweets are coming to Twitter. There just isn't any indication on when, or even how it will work. Dorsey has been pretty careful about talking about editing tweets, in fact the last time he spoke about editing Tweets was over two years ago. That's a good thing for Dorsey, it's better to promise nothing than to promise something and not be able to live up to that promise. That's also something Dorsey has done in the past and have learned from that mistake. Editable Tweets aren't coming anytime soon, unfortunately, but it is something that Twitter is indeed looking at, and that is what matters here.