Twitter has finally decided to test an edit feature, with the expectation that it will roll out to a select number of people (including Twitter Blue subscribers) in the coming weeks (and hopefully the rest of Twitter after that). It sounds easy, and it sounds like it’s something that Twitter should have implemented years ago, but I understand why they haven’t yet. In testing the edit feature, they will attempt to address those particular concerns.
Most of us want an edit button for a very simple reason: Sometimes, we don’t see typos and we’re less inclined to delete it and repost if the tweet has already been shared or liked. But if it goes viral with that typo, you’ll f**king hate yourself. For most people in this situation (me, me, me!), the edit feature will be helpful. Users will be able to edit a tweet for up to a half hour. Cool? Cool.
It might also be helpful for people who tweet something and incur immediate backlash. Those users may be able to say, “Oops! That’s not what I meant. Let me correct my tweet.” That’s all good and well, but the edit feature will also show that the tweet has been modified and provide a timestamp and a link to the history of that tweet. If you say something racist or transphobic and get called out for it, you can’t be like, “That’s not what I said,” because receipts will be available for others to fact-check your ass. (My advice: Just delete the tweet. Covering up the crime is always worse than the crime itself).
The big problem here I think is SPAM and misinformation, and ad networks have encountered this problem for years. Someone gives an ad network a legitimate ad, but after it goes live, they edit SPAM into it. This is exactly what could happen on Twitter. Someone might send a legit tweet that passes through SPAM filters, but then they may edit SPAM into it. Or if someone tweets common-sense medical advice and then edits into it dangerous misinformation, that’s a problem. Twitter is going to have to figure that one out, and assume they have a decent grasp on it if they are testing this feature now. I suspect they’ll have to treat every edit like a new tweet.
Ultimately, they may even restrict the edit feature to Twitter Blue members, which may make it easier to compat SPAM and misinformation and increase revenue for a social platform that has struggled financially since its inception.
tl;dr: In the coming weeks, you may be able to edit your tweets for half an hour after they post.