The edit button. It’s one of the most powerful tools in online discussion forums. For most people, it’s a great way to go back and clean up errors, add more information to posts, or reword their thoughts.
CEO Jack Dorsey recently mentioned that one of the things Twitter definitely needs is an edit button. The original suggestion to the man during his open feedback suggestion conversation was to make it for verified pages only, but he seems to imply that if Twitter does it, they want to do it for all users.
Some speculate that the issue with bringing an edit button is that it’ll further facilitate the spread of fake news, something Twitter, in particular, is one of the biggest vehicles for.
We’re not sure how an edit button would change anything as it stands — if people want to post fake news, they will just post the fake news. Perhaps the idea might be for someone to write a legit viral Tweet and then edit it to be fake news after it gains traction, but why wouldn’t you want the viral Tweet to just keep gaining traction?
Plus, when you consider Facebook — another big source for fake news — has an edit button and does just fine, we’re not so sure there’s a great excuse. In any case, Twitter can alleviate any concerns a few different ways:
- Anytime a Tweet is edited, put a timestamp noting the change somewhere on the Tweet. It’s an age-old tactic for message boards and the like.
- Give users the option to show the contents of an old Tweet vs the new one. The reason this needs to be optional is because if someone edits their Tweet for purposes of removing sensitive information they didn’t intend to post, they can rest assured that their information is no longer visible (although that wouldn’t stop someone from quickly recording the details on their own before the edit).
- Make it so Tweets can only be edited for a limited amount of time. This ensures that the contents of a Tweet can’t change after it has already made meaningful rounds in other folks’ timelines.
So, there really is no great reason why Twitter hasn’t yet implemented an edit button. They just haven’t, and we hope they’ll get around to doing it at some point in 2017.