Twitter confirms it will test an edit button

The feature will first be available to paying Twitter Blue subscribers.

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Karissa Bell
April 5, 2022 5:44 PM
An edit button is finally actually happening.
Twitter

More than a decade and a half into its existence, Twitter has confirmed what was once unthinkable: an edit button is on the way. The company confirmed as much Tuesday, saying that it's been "been working on an edit feature since last year." 

The company was light on details, but it did share a mock-up of the feature, which it said it would test first with Twitter Blue subscribers "in the coming months."

Twitter added that “no, we didn’t get the idea from a poll,” in an apparent reference to Elon Musk, who recently became the company’s largest shareholder and immediately asked his followers if the company should create the long-requested feature.

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In a separate thread, the company’s head of consumer product Jay Sullivan said that an edit button “has been the most requested Twitter feature for many years.” He said the company would be “actively seeking input and adversarial thinking” prior to launching the feature in order to prevent potential misuse.

“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,” Sullivan wrote. “Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work. Therefore, it will take time and we will be actively seeking input and adversarial thinking in advance of launching Edit.”

That Twitter will start experimenting with editable tweets is a major shift for the company. Executives have long acknowledged the practicality of being able to fix typos and correct errors, but have cited concerns that an edit button could chip away at Twitter's ability to act as a public record. As recently as 2020, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said it would “probably" never happen, despite previously seeming open to the idea. “We wanted to preserve that vibe, that feeling, in the early days," he said, referring to Twitter’s origins as an SMS-based service.

Prior to Twitter confirming it was in fact working on an edit button, Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth weighed in on the idea, claiming that Facebook had already “solved” issues around potential misuse. “You just include an indicator that it has been edited along with a change log,” he wrote. “If you are really worried about embeds they can point to a specific revision in that history but with a link to the latest edit. Not a real issue.” 

Bringing the edit button to Twitter Blue subscribers first could also be a major boost to Twitter’s recently-launched subscription service. The $2.99/month service gives subscribers additional features, like the ability to “undo” tweets and access to NFT profile photos. But that doesn’t mean edit functionality will always be limited to those who pay. Editing will be available first as a “Twitter Blue Labs” feature, but the company has said it intends to make some “labs” features available to everyone after initial testing. Whether that will be the case with tweet editing is unclear for now.

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