Twitter is developing an edit button that would allow users to change tweets after they’ve been posted.
A vocal subset of Twitter users have long begged for the company to allow them to fix typos and other errors in their 280 characters after they’ve hit tweet. Twitter wrote in a tweet Tuesday, “now that everyone is asking… yes, we’ve been working on an edit feature since last year! no, we didn’t get the idea from a poll 😉 we’re kicking off testing within @TwitterBlue Labs in the coming months to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible.” Twitter Blue is the company’s premium subscription service that comes with extra features.
The reason “everyone” is asking about an edit button is Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He polled his 80 million Twitter followers Monday on whether the social network should institute the possibility of changing tweets post-posting, labeling the two options in the online survey “yse” and “on.” As of press time, 4.2 million people had voted, 73.5% in favor and 26.5% against. The poll is still active. Musk himself has expressed support for the potential feature in a reply to a YouTuber’s tweet about it.
Twitter’s CEO seemed to endorse Musk’s query. Parag Agrawal retweeted Musk’s poll Monday, “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”
The head of SpaceX, who is also the richest man in the world, bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter last month. With the purchase, he became Twitter’s largest shareholder, and he has been appointed to the company’s board through 2024, Twitter announced Tuesday. He has promised “significant” changes to the social network.
Critics have pointed to the possibility of users injecting already-viral tweets with untrue information or unsavory language as an argument against the creation of an edit button. Facebook has long allowed users to edit posts, and Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth responded to the possibility of changed meanings in a tweet Tuesday: “We solved this on Facebook a long time ago. You just include an indicator that it has been edited along with a change log. If you are really worried about embeds they can point to a specific revision in that history but with a link to the latest edit. Not a real issue.” Meta has, however, grappled with the rampant proliferation of disinformation on its social networks.