Twitter testing edit button but it has nothing to do with Musk

Twitter testing edit button but it has nothing to do with Musk
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Assuming you’re on the platform, how many times have you tweeted something including a plea for Twitter to finally give us an edit button? I would guess that I do it on average at least once every couple of weeks. (My touch-typing skills frequently outpace my brain by a fair margin.) Two years ago, former CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that an edit button was the single most common request from users but concluded that, “we’ll probably never do it.” But is that about to change? Yesterday the company announced in a tweet that they are indeed working on an edit button and have been for several years. But they also rushed to ensure everyone that the announcement had nothing to do with the fact that their newest board member and largest shareholder, Elon Musk, had just run a poll on the need for an edit button and more than four million people voted in it. (Associated Press)

Twitter tweeted Tuesday that it is indeed working on a way for users to edit their 280-character messages, although it says the project has nothing to do with the fact that edit-function fan Elon Musk was just revealed as the company’s largest shareholder and now sits on its board.

Twitter said it will test the feature in its paid service, Twitter Blue, in the coming months. It said the test would help it “learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible.” So it may be a while before most Twitter users get to use it, if they ever do. Twitter spokesperson Catherine Hill declined to say whether an edit feature might be rolled out for all users.

Many Twitter users — among them, Kim Kardashian, Ice T, Katy Perry and McDonald’s corporate account — have long begged for an edit button. The company itself recently teased users with an April Fool’s Day tweet saying “we are working on an edit button.”

Oh, of course this doesn’t have anything to do with Musk. (Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.) Clearly, Twitter is the type of company where a user can have their concerns taken seriously, assuming you have enough money to buy nearly ten percent of the operation.

As far as the edit button goes, don’t get your hopes up yet because they aren’t promising anything. They’re going to be testing it in Twitter Blue “in the coming months” but their spokesperson wouldn’t even comment on the possibility of it ever being available to the general public. I’ve heard a couple of theories as to why the company has been opposed to the idea of an edit button for so long. Some claim it’s because they want to remain true to their roots in text messaging. You can’t edit a text after you send it, so why not treat tweets the same way? But I’ve never found an argument to make content look poorer in quality in the name of “tradition” to be very compelling.

Others have expressed concerns that someone might go back and edit a tweet in a way that totally changes its meaning after a large number of people have liked or retweeted it. I suppose that’s at least somewhat valid, but you still have the option of going back and “unliking” the tweet or deleting your retweet.

While an edit button might be nice, it’s not really what the assembled masses have been yearning for, at least in conservative circles. What I hope that Musk is already arguing for behind closed doors is an end to the censorship. We would like to see the restoration of everyone’s account who had their voices silenced for the sin of mentioning Hunter Biden’s laptop or retweeting something from Tara Reade. We hope for an end to the content warnings or cancellation of anyone who points out that Lia Thomas is a man. In short, we would like to see Twitter go back to acting more like a bulletin board and less like a high school hall monitor.

If Elon Musk can manage to pull that off, he will have earned a loyal follower in me. And I was already pretty loyal after he mailed me a flamethrower a couple of years ago.

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Jazz Shaw 1:01 PM on May 27, 2023