Twitter confirms working on edit button; will be available to Twitter Blue subscribers first

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Twitter is indeed working on an edit button. A feature that Twitter users have been asking for years will soon become a reality. While the announcement may have come after Elon Musk took a 9.2 per cent stake in the company and then publicly polled his 80 million followers asking whether they want an edit button, there is not much evidence to suggest that we need to thank him.

Since the idea of an edit button first came to discussion, it has gone from a valuable solution to a meme. Even Twitter itself has tried to make a joke of it with the micro-blogging platform saying it is “working on an edit button” on April 1. It was not clear whether the platform was serious or making an April Fool’s day joke.

Twitter confirms edit button is coming soon

Now, Twitter has confirmed that it is working on an edit feature since last year. The idea here is to allow Twitter users to edit their tweets after posting them. It is not immediately clear how it will work but the general consensus seems like Twitter will let users fix any typo or errors in a tweet after it is sent.

Twitter also revealed that it will first begin testing this feature with Twitter Blue subscribers in “the coming months.” Recently, Twitter said on an average, 500 million tweets are shared every day and, for the platform, the challenge has been to ensure that the edit option does not break the system altogether.

In a thread on Tuesday, Jay Sullivan, the company’s VP of consumer product, said that the edit feature has been “the most requested Twitter feature for many years.” He further said that the company has been exploring how to build the feature “in a safe manner” since last year and sees this as a way to eliminate the need to delete and tweet again.

“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. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work,” he says.

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A brief history of Twitter’s edit button

Twitter’s edit button first became part of regular conversation when people were increasingly making mistakes and fixing those by deleting their tweets and then tweeting them again. Twitter users have been asking for an edit button for so long that it has become a joke on the platform.

To exacerbate the need for an edit button, Twitter users resorted to the tactic of responding to tweets with a typo with the standard response of “Tweets, but editable.” While the Twitter community overwhelmingly supports the addition of the edit button, Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey was always reluctant to the idea.

In 2018, Dorsey shared his concern behind adding an edit button by stating that users could change a tweet’s meaning after it is shared widely. In 2020, he went as far as to say that Twitter would “probably never” add the feature. For Dorsey and Twitter’s top executives, the challenge has been to tackle the possible abuse of the feature.

However, platforms like Facebook, Instagram and others have added edit options and there is not much evidence to suggest its misuse. However, Meta’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos pointed out on Twitter that the abuse of the edit feature is not unheard of and, he says, Facebook’s editing feature has been misused to help a cryptocurrency scam.

Another challenge facing Twitter is its lack of proven security infrastructure. On July 15, 2020, a 17-year-old hacker and his accomplices managed to breach Twitter’s network and seized control of dozens of high-profile accounts. The official accounts of Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and others were hacked in an apparent Bitcoin scam.

With an edit feature, such a hack could have turned catastrophic, but Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal seems more open to the idea of an edit button. With the company already offering an undo feature that lets Twitter Blue subscribers to recall a tweet before they send it, an edit feature would be the logical next step.

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The editorial team of Silicon Canals brings you technology news from the European startup ecosystem. 

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