Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently sat down with Joe Rogan, and during the interview, he mentioned that he's considering implementing the ability to edit Tweets. The catch, however, is that the original Tweet would not be erased. This means that observant users would be able to spot your original typo, intent error, or other gaffe.
This snippet came during a lengthy interview about the nature of the platform and its social responsibility in an era where the definition of free speech online is being openly shaped and challenged. While Rogan didn't go too hard on the Twitter CEO, he did ask a few pressing questions, such as why right-wing news face Alex Jones was banned from the platform.
Background: While the nature of free speech online and Twitter's role in the matter is an interesting thing to discuss, most users are probably a bit more interested in knowing more about the aforementioned Tweet editing feature. It has actually been discussed in the past, but this is the first time that any material details about how the feature may work have surfaced.
Dorsey pointed out before that he didn't want to put in the feature, only to see people editing old Tweets or changing the salient details of their Tweets. This is especially true of Tweets that come from major public entities or end up going viral. Allowing such changes would essentially constitute complacency in the fight against fake news, a position that Twitter arguably can't afford.
Keeping the old Tweet around is a great way to keep exactly that from happening. Another solution was discussed previously, and if the feature ever sees the light of day, the two may be used in concert. The other proposed method was to restrict editing to a short window of time after a Tweet gets pushed out.
All of this has the sole purpose of allowing people to address small errors, like using the wrong hashtag or URL, or misspelling something, while keeping users from making big changes to things they've said in the face of scrutiny, or for other unfavorable reasons.
Impact: If this comment actually turns into a real feature for Twitter, the biggest and most immediate impact is going to be far fewer erroneous Tweets. While you can already delete your Tweets, deleting a whole Tweet and remaking it with the proper information is arguably a pain compared to simply editing it.
The proposed implementation spoken of in this interview, leaving the original Tweet intact, is not a foolproof method of preventing users from misleading others with edited Tweets, but it's a step in the right direction. It's still entirely possible for users who aren't terribly tech-savvy, or third-party sites that link to edited Tweets, to miss the fact that there's an original Tweet. To combat that, Twitter would have to find a way to make it painfully obvious that a Tweet has been edited, and plainly present users with a way to view the original Tweet.
The ability to edit Tweets won't really be a game changer for the service in any significant way; it's mostly just a creature comfort. Even so, in today's social media climate, it's the little things and ways of standing out that can pull users into a service or drive them away. This is definitely an example of the former, though how it's implemented could potentially raise some eyebrows.