A Twitter edit button would easily top any poll for the most-requested new feature on the social network. But CEO Jack Dorsey says it’s not happening this year, and he’s explained why in a new video Q&A…
We’ve all done it: posted a tweet and literally seconds later spotted a typo, forgotten link, or some other problem that we’d like to be able to quickly correct.
That experience has led countless Twitter users to request an edit button, even if it’s only for a very limited time.
Dorsey explains that the reason editing was never offered from the start was a simple technical one: you originally tweeted via SMS, and once a text message was sent, there was no way to recall it. That reason is now merely a historical footnote, but he says the company wanted to “preserve that vibe.” And no, we don’t know what that means, either.
He explains that the key problem is retweets. If edits are allowed, someone could retweet something, and the author could then edit the tweet to say something completely different.
One common suggested solution to this has been to allow only immediate edits – ones made within something like 30 seconds to one minute. Dorsey says this is less problematic, but would still require the service to delay posting the tweet for that period, which would be tricky for a service which sometimes demands immediacy, as in breaking news.
All the same, it doesn’t seem like this should be an insurmountable problem. For example, tweets could be posted immediately, but have a 30-second edit window within which retweets aren’t possible. Or have retweets automatically deleted if the tweet is edited.
Dorsey said a flat ‘no’ to the feature happening this year, but as The Verge notes, did leave open a small window of hope sometime later.
“So, these are all the considerations,” says Dorsey. “But we’ll probably never do it.”
But again, note that there’s just a sliver of ambiguity in what he says (“we’ll probably never do it”), which leaves open the possibility of enabling edits in future.
Dorsey briefly excited some when he claimed it was still possible to get an account verified for that coveted blue checkmark, inviting users to DM the company’s product lead, Kayvon Beykpour. However, this appears to be a prank, as Beykpour edited his Twitter bio to add, in caps:
Sorry I’m not the “Verification God” and won’t be able to verify you
You can watch the full Q&A, arranged by Wired, below.
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