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Twitter may soon allow you to edit your tweets, but there’s an important catch

Techly logo Techly 2/5/2019 Benjamin Pineros
A huge part of Twitter’s appeal is its ability to carry out fresh, real-time information. Whatever you put out there is set in stone and the only way to undo what was said is to delete your tweet entirely. © Getty A huge part of Twitter’s appeal is its ability to carry out fresh, real-time information. Whatever you put out there is set in stone and the only way to undo what was said is to delete your tweet entirely.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has revealed the company is considering implementing a new feature that would allow users to edit their posts.

A huge part of Twitter’s appeal is its ability to carry out fresh, real-time information. Whatever you put out there is set in stone and the only way to undo what was said is to delete your tweet entirely.

Implementing a way to edit your posts could change the platform’s very identity – and potentially turn users away. It’s pretty dangerous territory and that’s why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says that if they ever do it, they’ll have to do it in a way that doesn’t take the “real-time nature and the conversational flow out of it”.

In a chat with comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan last Friday which lasted almost two hours, the Twitter co-founder said the company was looking at a way to implement a feature that would let users edit their tweets while keeping the original version still publically available.

“You could build it such that maybe we introduce a five-second to 30-second delay in the sending, and within that window, you can edit,” explained Dorsey.

Twitter has been thinking about an edit feature for some time now. Back in 2016, Dorsey asked users what changes would they like implemented, and an edit function was one of the most popular responses.

But adding such a feature is not as easy as it sounds. While the company agrees there’s a need to allow users to go back and change a typo or a mistake in a URL, an edit function could become a huge headache. Ill-intended parties could change their points of view in the middle of a conversation, completely ruining the chain of replies, or post fake news or offensive statements and then change them retroactively.

Also, a user could post a statement, get thousands of replies and then change the statement to the absolute contrary position, making it appear as if many users agree with something that, in reality, they didn’t.

“We’ve been considering edit for quite some time, but we have to do it the right way. We can’t just rush it out, and we have to make sure that we’re actually solving the predominant reason why people would do it, first and foremost,” Dorsey said at the Indian Institute of Technology last year.

“And then not making something that’s distracting or takes away from the public record in doing so, because I think it’s really critical that we preserve that.”

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