What does a Twitter edit button mean for the network?

Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hinted that Twitter may finally add a Tweet edit button.

Finally, right!?

The statement came at Dorsey's recent talk at the Indian Institute of Technology. He confirmed that the social network is experimenting with an edit button, but also discussed some of the drawbacks and risks to adding said one.

Here's the juicy details

Dorsey notes that an edit button could be useful for—obviously—fixing typos and dead links in Tweets. After all, who hasn't Tweeted an embarrassing typo at one point or another (especially when you write them for a living)?

But on the other hand, the drawbacks to a Twitter edit button could be pretty major.

Dorsey notes that adding an edit button to Tweets would allow people to change the meaning of a controversial or otherwise important Tweet. This kind of abuse could allow for hateful or otherwise abusive content to be unknowingly retweeted.

Here's what Dorsey said about a Twitter edit button:

“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.”

So long story short: Twitter is working on an edit button, but it's taking every precaution necessary so that the button isn't abused. 

We'll likely see these limitations on a Twitter edit button

When a Twitter edit button is introduced, we're expecting it to be heavily restricted.

For example, you may only be able to edit Tweets for a limited amount of time after they're posted. For example, 30 minutes to an hour after being published.

This would prevent historic Tweets from being edited away from their original meaning. But at the same time, marketers and other social media users would be able to edit out typos or fix bad links. 

Further, we'll likely see a Facebook-style changelog for edits. This would allow Twitter users to view all edits made to a Tweet, ensuring that the meaning was never changed.

Finally, we will also likely see the number of edits be restricted by Twitter. For example, people may only be able to edit their Tweets 1 or 2 times.

Again, having restrictions like these in place will prevent spam and abuse. This is something that Twitter desperately needs as it continues to fight its way out of a vicious spam and abuse cycle.

When will we see a Twitter edit button?

As of the time of writing this article, Twitter hasn't shared any information on when they plan to release its edit button. And judging by Dorsey's statement, we may be waiting for quite some time until the social network can perfect the feature.

Bottom line

All in all, we're happy to hear that Twitter is actively working on an edit button for Tweets. Though it's years in the making, Twitter needs to bulletproof the button to prevent abuse—especially considering how important Twitter has become for news.

But now we want to hear from you. Do you think Twitter should add an edit button to Tweets? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

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