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Social Media

The Pros and Cons of a Twitter Edit button

By Sanuj Bhatia April 6, 2022, 5:00 am
Twitter Edit Button Source: Pocketnow

Twitter officially announced, just a couple of hours ago, that it has been working on the Edit button behind the scenes. The company plans to roll it out to select users that are part of its paid Blue group. While an Edit button, or feature for that matter, is definitely useful in some cases, Twitter might not be the best fit for it. Depending on its implementation, which is still a mystery at this point, there could be several advantages and disadvantages of this upcoming feature. Let's take a look at why the Edit button could make or break this social media platform.

The Case For...

Let's first understand why so many people want an Edit button in the first place? Why has a simple thing such as editing suddenly become the most requested feature of the social media platform? To begin with, let's first dive into the ideology behind Twitter.


Twitter is mostly a text-based social media platform. It's a micro-blogging platform on which users use 280 characters (which also used to be only 140-char up until four years ago) to express themselves. Anywhere, and everywhere, text input is involved, typo(s) are bound to occur. We're not perfect, we're human. Everybody makes mistakes, and on Twitter, those mistakes mostly come in the form of typos.

Most of the people (including myself) who use Twitter, ask for an Edit button so that they can quickly fix their tweets. The whole thing wherein you have to delete your tweet and tweet it again with the typo fixed takes a lot of time, and honestly, a little embarrassing as well. An Edit button would save everyone's time and make the whole thing more efficient. But, I get it, there's also a strong case against as to why an Edit button could destroy the platform.

The Case Against...

There are a number of reasons why many people don't want an Edit button on Twitter. Let's try and understand this with an example. As it is with the other social media platforms, Twitter is often a place where people voice their opinion, share news, and state facts. People could abuse this very aspect of Twitter and render the Edit button absolutely baseless, if not implemented properly.

As Liz Wheeler points out, "What if a tweet goes viral, lots of retweets & millions of impressions, & then the author completely changes the meaning?" What if the author of a tweet doesn't use the edit button to correct the grammatical errors, but changes the whole meaning of the tweet? It would make all the people who reacted to the original tweet look like (to simply put it) a fool.

What would happen to the quote-tweets, re-tweets, and replies to that tweet? What would happen if someone sees the tweet after the hype train is over and then gets the wrong context? This defeats the whole purpose and ideology of Twitter and this is one of the very reasons why the company has been refraining from implementing the Edit button. But, could there be a middle ground or a correct way of implementing an Edit button? I think so.

Twitter Edit Button Source: Twitter

Doing it the right way...

Now that Twitter has decided that it will implement the Edit button, is there any way the company can do it the right way? Obviously, there can be many ways of doing it, but here are a few ways that I think would be the correct approach, which would not burn the big tech company to the ground.

The first way could be to offer users a window of time (say 5-10 minutes) to fix the typo or any other issue with their tweet. A counter would run down every time a user tweets something and within this time period, a user is allowed to change anything related to their tweet. Moreover, every time a user makes a change, the tweet should clearly be labeled as "Edited" and the most recent version should link to the older versions as well. Beyond this time period, the tweet won't be editable.

Another approach, that Meta CTO Boz also notes is that there could be another way of letting users edit their tweets without the time boundation. This involves no timer or anything as such, meaning the user will be able to edit their tweets at any time. In this case, every time a user edits their tweet, a label "Edited" is added to the original tweet. Tapping on this button would reveal all the versions of that specific tweet.

Those thinking about the quote-tweet, replies, and re-tweet saga, this can also be solved easily. One way can be by linking these types of tweets to a specific 'revision' of the original tweet, and not to the edited tweet. To explain this in simple terms, every time a user re-tweets or quotes a tweet, that tweet (the quote or re-tweet) is linked to the specific revision of the tweet being quoted. When anyone sees the re- or quote-tweet after the original tweet has been edited, a text labeling that the "original tweet has been edited" should be shown (with a link to the edited tweet).

Well, these are basically two ways I think Twitter should go about this Edit button situation. The feature can essentially make or break the platform, but it entirely depends on how Twitter plans to implement it. It's a big step for the company, and even though it might take some time, we hope that Twitter implements the edit button in the right way so that we can continue enjoying our beloved social media as is.

Elon Musk Twitter Source: Pocketnow, Elon Musk pictured by Patrick Pleul, Getty Images

The edit button pre-dates Elon Musk

For those wondering if the change comes after Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO and Twitter's new board member asked in his viral tweet (with almost half a million votes and purposeful misspelling of 'yes') if they would like an edit button on the platform, it isn't the case. The company says that it has been working on the feature since last year and adds "No, we didn’t get the idea from a poll".

What are your thoughts on the Edit button and Twitter? Have you thought of any other way that the company can implement its Edit button? Let us know in the comments section down below!


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