According to media blogger Matthew Keys of The Desk, Twitter is working on an editing feature for tweets. Citing three anonymous Twitter employees close to the matter, Twitter has prioritized the rollout of this impending tool that would allow users to make edits on tweets shortly after they are published, but the editing option will be subject to a time limit that hasn’t been set yet; so, perhaps, a user will have a few hours to amend their tweet. There will also be a cap on how many edits a user can make – Keys says once per tweet. These tweets would automatically update on the user’s original post and on the feeds of anyone who re-tweeted it.
People make mistakes when they tweet. They misspell words, insert unnecessary commas, quote the wrong person, etc. This editing tool would allow conscientious users to correct their mistakes, which would improve the overall Twitter experience. Of course, it could also be used to change the meaning of a tweet, which could be a problem for people who choose to re-tweet something – and giving people the ability to alter the message they tried to put out might encourage hapless politicians and brands to try to cover up mistakes instead of admitting to them and taking responsibility for offensive or irresponsible micro-missives. According to Keys’s sources, Twitter may be testing an algorithm meant to determine whether an edit is just changing grammar and spelling or whether they’re trying to fundamentally change the meaning of the tweet. This means stuff like the SpaghettiOs/Pearl Harbor tweet wouldn’t be able to get changed.
It seems to me that kind of algorithm would have to be either insanely sophisticated or very prone to mistakes, so we’ll see how that goes.
Adding an editing tool would be one of the smartest new Twitter features, since it would ameliorate the platform’s tendency to spread bad information.