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Elon Musk asks Twitter users if they want an edit button

Elon Musk has launched a poll on Twitter asking his more than 80 million followers if they’d like to see an edit button on the microblogging service, with the vast majority of voters so far overwhelmingly in favor of such a feature.

The tweet (below) comes on the same day it was announced that the billionaire entrepreneur had acquired a 9.2% stake in Twitter worth $2.9 billion, making him the company’s largest single shareholder.

Do you want an edit button?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022

Notably, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal retweeted Musk’s tweet, together with the message: “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

Musk is one of Twitter’s most high-profile users as well as one of its harshest critics, so it will be interesting to see if Monday’s post about an edit button marks the start of a new wave of provocative tweets about aspects of the service that he’d like to see changed.

Many Twitter users have long called for an edit button, but the San Francisco-based company has always held back from introducing such a feature.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, whose 2.3% stake in Twitter is four times less than Musk’s, has said in recent years that his team has been “thinking a lot” about creating an edit button, but insisted that it would have to be done “in the right way,” explaining, “We can’t make something which is distracting or takes anything away from the public record.”

As a guest on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast in 2019, Dorsey said that if Twitter ever offered an edit button, it probably wouldn’t allow users to edit tweets from the distant past, or even ones that had just been posted.

Instead, he said it would probably offer a “5-second to 30-second delay in the sending,” similar to how some email services offer an undo button in the seconds after hitting send. In that way, the tweet would never be live during the time in which it could be changed, though it would still offer a chance to fix a typo or reconsider the decision to post.

We’ve heard little about a possible edit button in the last couple of years, though on April Fools’ Day Twitter tweeted to the service’s more than 200 million daily active users: “We are working on an edit button.”

Musk’s sizable stake in the company and recent criticisms of Twitter as a platform — including questioning whether the service really adheres to free speech principles — indicate that he could be looking to exert some control over the company.

“We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,” Dan Ives of WedBush Securities said in widely reported comments linked to Musk’s share purchase.

This article has been updated to include information about Parag Agrawal’s retweet.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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