We’ve been asking for it for years. And, finally, rumour has it that Twitter is secretly working on a button which will allow users to edit tweets after they have been published. Which, if true, could change everything about how we use and value the platform as a medium for sharing and consuming breaking news.
First reported by The Desk, here’s how the edit tweet feature is expected to work:
1. Once the user publishes a tweet they are granted a window of time (length to be determined) in which the tweet can be edited – once this window has closed the edit option will no longer be available
2. You can only make one edit per tweet and there might be limitations on what and how much you can edit (limits to be confirmed)
3. A groundbreaking “editorial algorithm” will check the edit to make sure you’re not switching the original meaning
4. Once you’ve edited the tweet, the correction shows up immediately in your Twitter feed and also in every retweet made using Twitter’s retweet button (note: not old-style RT @ retweets, which will be unaffected by your edit)
Twitter wants to implement this feature to allow users, particularly news reporters, to immediately be able to correct a mistake, such as a typo, bad link or factual error to stop the spread of misinformation.
However, they’re also trying to balance this functionality so a user cannot edit a tweet to completely change the original meaning or message once they’ve accumulated a large number of retweets. To address this, Twitter is working on an algorithm that they hope will be able to detect whether a user is attempting to change the original meaning of a tweet during the edit process. This algorithm, which is being touted as “one of the most-advanced in the industry”, is actively in development and is expected to be finished in the next few “weeks, or months at the most.”
As usual, once Twitter is happy with the edit feature they will test with a small subset of users (so you may hear reports of it popping up in the wild) and will only roll it out to the masses if they’re 100 percent happy with the results. Still, while this is very much a rumour and we’ve seen nothing concrete from Twitter, if the story is accurate and Twitter nails the algorithm this edit functionality could further cement Twitter’s position as a breaking news powerhouse.