Twitter CEO Says Users Could Get a Feature to 'Clarify' Their Bad Tweets

Image: Matt Rourke (AP)

Even Twitter knows there is something fundamentally broken about its platform. But what if users could just, uh, clarify their bad tweets? This was an idea evidently presented by Twitter CEO and witness to goat slaughter Jack Dorsey while speaking at a Goldman Sachs event in San Francisco on Thursday.

According to Recode, Dorsey said that the company is considering a tool for people to explain or expand on their old tweets, an idea that Dorsey said arose after the company noticed “people quote-unquote ‘being cancelled’ because of past things that they’ve said on Twitter or various other places in social media.” One possibility for such a feature is to minimize engagement for the tweet in question by barring retweets without the added “clarification.” Here’s how Dorsey put it, per Recode:

How do we enable people to quickly go back or to any tweet, whether it be years back or today, and show that original tweet—kind of like a quote retweet, a retweet with comment—and to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted or what they might have meant. By doing so you might imagine that the original tweet then would not have the sort of engagement around it. Like you wouldn’t be able to retweet the original tweet, for instance. You would just show the clarification, you would be able to retweet the clarification, so it always carries around with it that context. That’s one approach. Not saying that we are going to launch that but those are the sorts of questions we are going to ask.

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One possible application for this envisioned—but not necessarily guaranteed—feature would be for news. It may be useful in a situation in which news is breaking or developing, for example. But also, according to Dorsey, for years-old bad tweets that haven’t aged well.

This hypothetical tool seems like it could be a potential alternative to an in-app edit feature—a form of which Dorsey has said “is def needed” on the platform. Users can technically already add clarifications to tweets through quote-tweeting and threads, but the only way to really stop a tweet from being widely shared at present is to delete it altogether. And as Recode’s Kurt Wagner noted, attaching a clarification to a tweet that is already extremely dumb may not do much for avoiding being, as Dorsey put it, “cancelled.”

Alternatively, however, never tweeting is always an option.

[Recode]

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