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15 Jan, 2020 17:57

‘The answer is no’: Twitter users’ pleas for an ‘edit button’ shot down by Jack Dorsey

‘The answer is no’: Twitter users’ pleas for an ‘edit button’ shot down by Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has admitted that, despite high demand for the feature, the social media platform will “probably never” introduce an edit button allowing people to fix mistakes in their hastily posted tweets.

Cue the gasps from the Twitterati. An edit button has been a highly sought-after feature since the platform’s earliest days — but the company has always dodged the issue or placated users by saying it was ‘considering’ the idea.

In a video Q&A with Wired on Tuesday, however, Dorsey was more direct than ever on the issue. Answering a question about whether an edit button will be introduced in 2020, the straight-faced CEO said simply: “The answer is no.”

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Dorsey explained that the initial decision not to introduce an edit-tweet feature was because Twitter started "as an SMS, text message service” and it wanted to stick to its roots.

“As you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe, that feeling, in the early days,” he said.

Dorsey did admit that things have changed a lot since 2006 and that users have some legitimate reasons for wanting an edit button — chief among them being the ability to fix a typo without having to delete a popular tweet (thereby losing the initial number of likes and retweets).

Proponents of an edit button have noted that other popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to edit their posts.

Dorsey conceded that Twitter had indeed considered a “one-minute window,” or even just a “30-second window,” in which users could still edit a typo or a broken link.

One of the problems an edit feature would create, he said, is that if a person completely changes the content of a tweet, users who retweeted it before the changes were made might not be aware — and could therefore be “rebroadcasting something completely different” to what they intended. 

Those against an edit button have similarly warned that people could use the feature maliciously to trick people or spread false information. On the flip side, edit button proponents have said those issues could be avoided if Twitter also allowed users to see an ‘edit history’ for an individual tweet — something which Facebook does.

It seems the cons ultimately outweigh the pros for Dorsey, however.

“We’ll probably never do it,” he concluded, leaving just the slightest bit of hope for spelling-conscious tweeters.

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