Twitter Letting You Edit Tweets Would Be Crazy, Right?

    December 18, 2013
    Josh Wolford
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Facebook finally let you do it a few months ago – why not Twitter? Rumor has it that Twitter may be working on a feature that would allow you to edit your tweets after the fact – you know, after they’ve already been retweeted in the world’s largest pool of disinformation.

Ok – that would, unequivocally, be one of the craziest things ever. Is it likely to happen? Well, we have some conflicting reports.

The whole rumor started with Matthew Keys, writing for The Desk. Here’s what he had to say, quoting three sources familiar with the matter:

Once a user publishes a tweet, an “edit” feature will be present for a limited amount of time (Twitter is still currently working out the length of time the feature would be available). The feature would allow a user to make “slight changes” to the contents of a tweet, such a removing a word, correcting a typo or adding one or two additional words.

An edit could only be performed once per tweet. Once the edit is made, it would be immediately visible on that user’s Twitter feed. The edit would also show up on the feed of anyone who re-published the tweet using Twitter’s built-in “re-tweet” feature.

Apart from the limitations on editing windows and number of edits, Keys also says that Twitter is working on an algorithm that would be able to determine whether or not the general intent of the tweet had been altered by the edit and act appropriately – I guess to catch a scenario where some user completely alters the meaning of a tweet with a very small edit.

Adding an “e” to an “I LOVE RAP” tweet or something.

Apparently, this has been a “top priority” at Twitter for months.

Or has it?

Jennifer Van Grove over at CNET is saying the exact opposite. Quoting sources familiar with the matter, she says that Twitter is not actively exploring a post-edit feature.

And here’s what Wired writer Mat Honan had to say:

Ok. Let’s talk this out. Even with limits on have many characters a user could edit after the fact and a small window for making the edit, users would have the ability to completely alter tweets. Oh, President Jack Smith is not dead? Wait, President Jack Smith is dead. That’s a pretty small edit and a pretty big shift in meaning.

And it’s all of the retweets that make this idea sound kooky. If an edited tweet did in fact also change on everyone’s timeline who retweeted it – wow. Just think about the implications of this. You think misinformation travels fast on Twitter now? Holy shit.

An algorithm to catch tweets that have been maliciously altered? Ok, sounds good. It also sounds hard.

The only way I can see this not causing a boatload of trouble is if Twitter somehow marked any edited tweet or retweet with the equivalent of crime scene tape. “EDITED EDITED EDITED” pasted across the tweet in giant, yellow letters. You think a little icon in the corner that says “edited” is going to catch the eye of a Twitter population ready to crucify someone for some crazy tweet?

For now, I think it’s best to just stick to deleting erroneous tweets or tweeting a follow-up correction. But who knows? Twitter may actually be thinking about this. It’s not like they haven’t done some crazy stuff before – I mean, just last week they tried to make it so you couldn’t really block another user.

  • Who are We Kidding

    Twitter is evil and has caused more problems than we know. The last thing we need to hear is people and their instant thoughts.

    Honesty, what value does twitter bring to anyone’s life? Really think about this. Does reading twitter bring peace to you? Odds on, it pisses you off and raises your blood pressure. Also, how arrogant do you have to be to think that everyone wants to know your immediate thoughts all the time.

    I can understand having an opinion. Maybe writing a comment every once in a while. But people use twitter all freaking day and about every subject. Some people tweet 20 thoughts an hour. It is crazy.

  • Intersting

    Twitter really does cause a lot of hate. You ever read the comments? People make statements about other people that they have never met or talked to. They judge a situation when they really know nothing at all about the situation. All it does is stir up hate. Some of the most ignorant people use twitter and you are right, at the end of the day, it is all about a person thinking that their opinions matter more than someone else’s opinion.

    Twitter is just a glorified pissing contest for people with small minds and limited information.

  • http://www.allindiaexamresults.com Neha Desai

    So, finally twitter is following facebook! 😀 It’s nice concept and useful when you do mistakes in tweet and can’t delete it ! but not that will be possible soon.

  • http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk Alex M.

    Pinteresting. Very Pinteresting indeed. Part of the fun of Twitter is when someone messes up and then can only delete their Tweet, by which point most people have screen grabbed it and it’s gone viral.

    Mind you, it would be handy to correct minor typos we all make from thyme to thyme.