Jack Dorsey Says an Edit Tweet Feature Is 'Definitely Needed'
Some think that could worsen problems with fake news, though.
CEO Jack Dorsey asked Twitter users what improvements they most wanted to see, and as you'd expect, he got an avalanche of replies -- more than 5,700 so far.
The most requested feature was the ability to edit tweets after you've sent them, rather than having to delete and start again. Dorsey agreed that "a form of edit is def needed," and that the company is "thinking a lot about it." However, he thinks anything beyond quick edits would require a changelog, and some users suggested any edits would worsen trust issues with the site.
Dorsey suggested that there are two types of edits Twitter could implement. The first would allow a window, say five minutes, to fix any typos, bad links and other user errors. The other would allow you to make edits anytime, much as you can on Facebook. However, as with Facebook, Twitter would be forced to implement a revision history in that case so that edits don't go "off the public record," Dorsey said.
@howardlindzon not sure why you're quoting this tweet but yes, a form of edit is def needed. But for everyone, not just those w badges— jack (@jack) December 29, 2016
It might even allow a short window to edit that could further damage trust in the network. By altering tweets, news sites or prominent individuals could slightly changing their context and meaning, for instance. President-elect Donald Trump, for one, considers the site as his own personal "newspaper -- without the losses," he once tweeted. While it's clear when he deletes tweets, many users might not notice if one has been slightly altered.
"Delete is enough. Context changing post-fact is dangerous," user Justyn Howard replied to Dorsey. He added that even short edit windows between 30 seconds and five minutes aren't really needed, since you can just delete and repost a tweet. As for a revision history, he points out that "80 people liked [your tweet]. Which version?"
@JBoorman I say "do you like to eat pizza", you reply "yes" 3 minutes later. I change pizza to babies. Wouldn't you rather I deleted it?— Justyn Howard (@Justyn) December 29, 2016
Other top suggestions were to introduce bookmarks so you could find favorite tweets easier, rather than just using the "like" button, which also effectively endorses the tweet. The other main demand, of course, was to improve safety and reporting options for bullies, something Twitter has been taken to task for many times. In replying to many of those requests, Dorsey called it the company's "top priority."
Twitter is already looking or has previously looked at a lot of the ideas, Dorsey said, and that's the rub of the problem with Twitter in general. It's stuck between pleasing its existing users and trying to attract new ones to a site that's notoriously difficult to grok and potentially dangerous once you get popular. Dorsey was perhaps hoping to see a genius idea that could solve all those problems and finally help make the site profitable -- or saleable.