TTwitter user witter said Tuesday that they are working to find a way for them to communicate with each other. edit their 280-character messages, although it says the project has nothing to do with the fact that edit-function fan Elon Musk was just revealed as the company’s largest shareholder and now sits on its board.
Twitter stated that it would test the feature within its paid service, Twitter Blue in the next few months. It said the test would help it “learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible.” So it may be a while before most Twitter users get to use it, if they ever do. Catherine Hill (a Twitter spokesperson) declined to confirm whether an editing feature will be available for all users.
Many Twitter users — among them, Kim Kardashian, Ice T, Katy Perry and McDonald’s corporate account — have long begged for an edit button. A company spokesperson recently suggested that users could get an edit button. April Fool’s Day tweet saying “we are working on an edit button.” The official Twitter account said Tuesday that the April 1 tweet wasn’t a jokeIt has worked on the project since last year.
Twitter also said it didn’t get the idea from a Twitter poll launched by Tesla CEO MuskMonday evening. Musk, himself a Twitter power user, asked followers if they wanted an edit button, cheekily misspelling “yes” as “yse” and “no” as “on.” More than 4 million people had voted as of Tuesday evening.
Musk also tweeted that he is looking forward to making “significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”
Twitter’s vice president of consumer product, Jay Sullivan, tweeted Tuesday that an edit function has for years been Twitter’s most requested new feature, noting that people want to fix mistakes, typos, and “hot takes.”
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had said that Twitter had considered an edit button, but in a January 2020 Q&A maintained that “we’ll probably never do it.” He noted that Twitter’s current setup keeps the spirit of its text-message origins — texts can’t be edited — and the confusion that could result from users making changes to a tweet that has already been heavily circulated by others. In November 2021, Dorsey was elected CEO.
Twitter experts also believe that adding an editor button will change Twitter’s nature, rendering it less useful as a historic warehouse for official statements from politicians and high-profile individuals. Twitter, for better or worse, “has become the de facto news wire,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media who researches propaganda.
Twitter tweets can often be embedded into news stories. This could lead to problems for users if they edit controversial or important tweets and leave no evidence. Grygiel recommended that Twitter users be given a time limit to make changes before publishing their tweets.
Grygiel explained that the historical statements made by powerful Twitter users would be rewritten if they were allowed to do so. “We need to think about what the implications are, what these tweets are, who has power.”
They were acknowledged Tuesday night by the company when Sullivan visited. tweeted: “Without things like time limits, controls, and transparency about what has been edited, Edit could be misused to alter the record of the public conversation. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work.”
Musk, too, had said that a proposal for a post-publication edit window of a few minutes “ sounds reasonable.”
Musk could probably use an editor button. His tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 per share, when funding was not secured, led to a $40 million SEC settlement and a requirement that Musk’s tweets be approved by a corporate lawyer. Musk remains embroiled in the dispute over this settlement.
Twitter had earlier seemed to be taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to Musk’s poll. Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, retweeted the poll with a seeming reference to an earlier tweet by Musk, saying “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” Musk had used the same languageA March tweet by him describing another poll in which he asked whether Twitter adheres or not to freedom of speech principles.
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