For some time, Twitter has been hinting that it might one day give in to its’ users’ clamouring for a tweet-editing button. Now the company has given its most specific answer to date, and it’s in the opposite direction.
“The answer is no,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during a Wired video FAQ, replying to the question of whether we’ll see an edit button in 2020.
“The reason there’s no edit button, and hasn’t been traditionally is that we started as an SMS, text message service,” he continued. “And as you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling, in the early days.”
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While that vibe has definitely changed over the years, Dorsey went on to explain other concerns that have emerged – like the risk of misinformation spreading if people could edit tweets after they were sent. “You might send a tweet and then someone might retweet that, and then an hour later you completely change the content of that tweet. The person that retweeted the original tweet is now retweeting and rebroadcasting something completely different.”
But that doesn’t mean Dorsey sees the requests as completely without merit – the fixing of typos and dead links, for example, seem pretty legitimate to him. “That’s great – we’ve considered a one-minute window or a 30-second window to correct something, but that also means we have to delay sending that tweet out, because once it’s out, people see it.
“So these are all the considerations, it’s just work, but we’ll probably never do it.”
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Spelled out in black-and-white text, that looks far more definitive than the answer sounds in the video above, where Dorsey’s responses to this and other questions often feel a bit more flippant and playful. But all the same: it doesn’t seem likely that an edit button is coming any time soon, no matter how much you might want one.
The best advice would be to both carefully proofread your tweets, and to ask yourself if a given message is something that could plausibly come back to bite you. Only then should you hit that tweet button.