Twitter’s Jack Dorsey plays dumb about editing tweetsNovember 12, 2018
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has reiterated that the social network is considering adding an edit function (via The Next Web). When asked about the company’s plans for the oft-requested feature at a talk at the Indian Institute of Technology, the CEO repeated what he said in 2016 about needing to understand the real question being asked. It was as if years of “tweets, but editable” posts immediately following a typo left any mystery.
“When we hear about the edit button, you have to pay attention not to what people are asking you for but to the use cases. What’s the question behind the question?” said Dorsey. “So I’ve misspelled something or I tweeted the wrong URL, and I want to correct it. So that’s a lot more achievable than allowing people to edit any tweet all the way back in time.”
He then explained how an edit button risks being abused by users who change a tweet’s original meaning. The result could be people retweeting content that they disagree with, which is a problem in an era of viral hoax tweets and Twitter posts that have gotten people fired.
“There’s a bunch of things we could do to show a changelog and show how a tweet has been changed and we’re looking at all this stuff but ultimately we need to make sure we’re solving a real problem and solving a use case that people are seeing as friction within the service and making that easy for people to do. We’ve been considering edit for quite some time but we have to do it in the right way.”
To be clear, Jack, the real problem is fixing typos, nobody is asking to edit tweets “all the way back in time.” That’s what delete is for.
As The Verge’s Casey Newton argued back in 2017 while explaining how a Twitter edit button could work, plenty of other services have already solved this. Facebook, Tumblr, Medium, Instagram, Slack, and others all let you edit messages, yet the features haven’t been implicated in scandal.
You can hear Dorsey’s response at the 56:45 mark in the live stream from the event.