Do You Really Want an Edit Feature on Twitter?
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash 

Do You Really Want an Edit Feature on Twitter?

Yes, it’ll fix your typos, but it could be dangerous

People have been asking the powers that be at Twitter to add an edit button for years. Typing on a phone isn’t always the easiest activity—especially when your thumbs are moving swiftly—and can leave you prone to spelling mistakes. It’s embarrassing to rattle something off real quick and watch it accumulate a bunch of likes and retweets, only to later realize you had a brain fart and mixed up “their” and “there.”

Few things are more humiliating than getting into a tiff with someone online and the only response they have for you is simply “your,” because, well, we’re not saying you have bad grammar and don’t know when "you're" is appropriate—it’s just a simple mistake. But the world doesn’t care; everybody is laughing at you, thinking you’re stupid.

An edit button on Twitter could fix all of this. But is it really worth it?

Twitter is currently testing an edit button internally. The feature will be rolled out to Twitter Blue subscribers thereafter. (Twitter Blue, by the way, is a premium subscription tier for Twitter, so all the people who’ve been going on about how “this website is free,” look what you’ve done.) Twitter says the plan is to allow users to edit their tweets up to 30 minutes after they’re published. Tweets that have been edited will display an icon, timestamp, and label, so readers can be made aware that the tweet has been modified. If users click on the label, they can see the tweet’s edit history, which would include past versions of a tweet. These aspects are integral in not only the basic functions of this feature but also essential for the safety and sanity of the world.

The main issue with edited tweets is that all sorts of people will use them as an opportunity to lie and spread misinformation. People will lie on each other about their personal and professional relationships, about what they bought, what they did—all sorts of shit. An edit button without receipts could make Twitter, the most chaotic social media platform on Ray J’s internet, even more chaotic.

The most insidious thing that can come about from edited tweets is more misinformation from powerful people and bad faith accounts with large followings or reaches. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but we are in the golden age of disinformation, and we’re hanging on by a thread as a society. If an edit button is not made with this in mind, that’s not just a recipe for disaster, it’s the whole damn cookbook.

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