Twitter is finally working on an edit button to save us from tweeted typos
UPDATE: Twitter begins publicly testing the edit button. It's time to tweak your Tweets.
For as long as there have been fat-fingered Twitter fans, there have been calls for the platform to add an edit button. After all, one typo is all it takes to undermine your toastiest take on the latest political fiasco.
After years of deleting misspelt missives (or correcting mistakes with asterisked replies), the patience of Twitterers finally gets rewarded. A mere decade after Facebook allowed users to edit their comments, Twitter has officially announced that it’s working on an edit button. And despite initially breaking the news on 1 April, the new feature isn’t Twitter’s attempt at tomfoolery.
So, is Twitter actually getting an edit button?
Confirmed on 6 April in – what else? – a tweet, Twitter’s communications team revealed that an edit mechanism has been in the works since last year. And not, apparently, as the result of a poll posted the day before by Elon Musk when he announced his (ex) plans to buy the company. A poll which (by the way) received more than four million responses, overwhelmingly in favour of the edit button.
But rollout won’t be straightforward. Acknowledging that an edit button has been easily the most requested Twitter feature for quite some time, Twitter’s Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan, was keen to highlight the tricky decisions that lie ahead of its implementation.
Tweets have an infamous ability to make – or change – history. But with an unrestricted edit tool, the integrity of Twitter as the internet’s public record could be compromised. With an edit button, covfefe could have played out very differently.
That’s why Twitter has experimented with features like time limits on edits, as well as transparency about what’s been edited. Facebook tackled this issue by always giving users the option to view original posts. But on a platform where dispatches spread like wildfire and fact-checking often falls down the list of priorities, Twitter will need to make content amendments crystal clear. If it doesn’t, there’s the obvious risk that retweeted tweets could be edited after the fact to suggest endorsement of a very different message.
Since then, it seems Twitter’s made up their mind on how the edit button will work… for now. Tweets will be editable with the new button for the first 30 minutes after being published. Edited tweets will show an icon, timestamp, and history of changes to make it clear that a tweet has been modified. Of course, this is just how Twitter’s decided to go in testing. The actual button may work a little differently by the time it comes out.
How long until we get fingers on this button of hope?
The last we heard, Twitter was planning to test its new edit tool in Labs, as an early-access feature for Twitter Blue subscribers. According to a series of tweets from Sullivan, Twitter “will be actively seeking input and adversarial thinking in advance of launching Edit”. But Twitter has since put out another tweet announcing that they’ve started to test the edit button publicly.
In the tweet, the company told users not to panic if they started seeing edited tweets on the platform. Initially, these tweets are coming from an internal test at Twitter, but will expand to Twitter Blue subscribers (as mentioned above) in the company weeks. Twitter’s edit button is on track, and it’s coming
fst. We mean, fast.