Menu Menu

Is Twitter’s new ‘editing’ feature a good thing?

A new, highly anticipated ‘edit’ tool is being internally tested for Twitter. The update would let users amend tweets up to 30 minutes after posting. Could this open the door for even more misinformation problems?

Most of us have probably had to delete a tweet before.

Whether it was due to negligence, regret, drunken mistakes, or a typo, nearly every Twitter user has retracted content at one time or another. But what if there was an option to ‘edit’ tweets before they’re cemented forever?

It’s a feature that users have been asking for almost since the website’s conception and it may finally be available soon. Twitter is currently internally testing an edit button that would allow users to alter tweets up to 30 minutes after posting.

After the initial testing phase it will then be rolled out to Twitter Blue but only via a single country at first.

While Twitter Blue is not available in the UK, users in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand can pay a premium for extra features, including an ‘undo’ option that allows fixing of tweets up to one minute after posting.

In a statement, Twitter said that it hopes a longer edit function will make tweeting ‘feel more approachable and less stressful.’ The company says editing is intended to ‘do things like fix typos, add missed tags, and more.’

So far, it all seems fairly straight forward. Users will be notified when a tweet has been edited and see past revisions. After 30 minutes the tweet will be locked, and you’ll have to delete as usual if you want to start over.

The difficulty with new features like editing, however, is that it potentially opens the door for misinformation and deceptive content.

The transparency tools provided will curb this, of course, but it’s worth noting that most of us simply read a headline and move on without properly investigating the information we read. Tweets probably won’t be much different.

Twitter already has a history of biases and subjective feeds, with internal research finding that right-wing tweets are given more algorithmic boosts. A feature that allows anyone to edit their comments, opinions, or facts after gaining traction and attention may cause further problems.

If a political opinion or link to a video gains a ton of likes and retweets immediately, but is then later amended, it may cause confusion and muddy the waters online. We could see our feeds become even more bewildering and contradictory than they already are – and nobody wants that.

Luckily the feature is slowly being teased and trialled, which means any huge issues will be flagged before it becomes a standard. Still, it could spell trouble for our online discourse if not handled correctly.

At least Elon Musk isn’t in charge though, right?