For years, Twitter has resisted calls from its 330-million strong user base to introduce an edit button. Now the social network has finally given its users a route to editable tweets... but it’s going to need cooperation from your 7.8 billion fellow humans.
The comment came in just 11 words: “You can have an edit button when everyone wears a mask.” Given there are plenty of people who are actively resistant to wearing a face mask to stem the spread of coronavirus, that feels like something of a tall order. Especially when Twitter issues clarifications like this:
everyone means EVERYONE https://t.co/nJh5qMV0usJuly 2, 2020
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To be honest, it’s hard to know what the point of the tweet was, other than engagement – something it has certainly achieved, given it has over two million likes at the time of writing. But given the strength of feeling from users who feel like they’ve been ignored for years, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that it’ll likely never happen isn’t the wisest PR move. Nonetheless, Twitter senior communications manager Nick Pacilio tweeted that this “is not a joke.”
since multiple reporters are asking, this is not a joke https://t.co/rtmoP3O9EoJuly 2, 2020
For much of last year, Twitter seemed to be flirting with the idea of including an edit button at some point. Back in August, the company’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour said it was something “I think we should build at some point”, but added it wasn’t “anywhere near the top of our priorities.” CEO Jack Dorsey also discussed a hypothetical version of the feature on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, saying it could come in the form of a “five to 30 second delay” to ensure the “real-time nature” of the site remained untouched.
But then a Wired YouTube FAQ seemed to pour cold water on the idea once and for all, by saying “it’s just work, but we’ll probably never do it.”
To be entirely fair, Dorsey did explain why he has reservations – chief amongst them being the risk of spreading disinformation. “You might send a tweet and then someone might retweet that, and then an hour later you completely change the content of that tweet,” he explained. “The person that retweeted the original tweet is now retweeting and rebroadcasting something completely different.”
All of this suggests that the mask wearing tweet shouldn’t be taken entirely seriously, but hey: it doesn’t hurt to try. Wear a mask to slow the spread of coronavirus, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to take a typo off your hastily typed 280-character thought...