Assuming Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter completely passes, things go look set to become a little more chaotic for the world 15th most popular social network. With Musk declaring himself “Absolutist of freedom of speech” (despite much evidence to the contrary), promising to beat spam bots, check all real peopleand fix Twitter’s problems (at least as he sees them), a lot can change pretty quickly.

One great feature that he has is a test balloon with a profile on Twitter is something people have been demanding for a long time: an edit button. In fact, just yesterday Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong published about what she could unofficially gather about what the future might hold for this particular feature, such as On the edge and other publications reported.

Here’s a look at what such a feature could mean for Twitter.

The editing button case

The April 4 Musk poll showed that 73.6% of respondents wanted an edit button. That’s also something Twitter said it was working on before Musk showing interest.

Since Twitter is currently running, there is no way to edit a tweet once it has been posted. You can delete it and republish it, in which case you lose all existing likes and answers, or you can reply to your original tweet with an update that people may not check or see. This persistence of Twitter distinguishes Twitter from other social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, all of which make it possible to edit a post once it is live.

“With the edit button, you have to think about the possibilities for harassment, gaslight or fraud?”

Jenny Gebhart, EFF

For most people, great appeal of the edit button is that you can correct any spelling or other mistakes you make. S many tweets are hosted on smartphonesit’s easy to see how small mistakes can often creep into such short messages, but it’s certainly the case with tweets made up of desktops.

The edit button can also potentially make tweets more relevant over time, as they can be updated with new information. For example, a tweet that asks a question can be updated to include the answer, or a tweet with articles that someone has recently written can be kept up to date at the top of their profile.

The cover for the edit button is a case for convenience and clarity. People usually want to be able to correct or update their messages without losing all the engagement and interactions they have had.

But it can get complicated

Jenny GebhartDirector of Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explains through Zoom that while the edit button was not on their “List of digital civil liberties and human rights asksFor Twitter, she thinks adding one is more complicated than most people think. “On the surface, it looks like ‘Oh, I want to get rid of typos.’ But it’s a function that can be abused like any other function, “she said. “You need to consider cases of abuse and how they are specific to a particular platform.”

“These platforms are big enough that no change you can make would be of unlimited benefit to any individual user,” says Gebhart. fraud? โ€

What happens if someone changes the harassment message to harmless? Or does it change what is said to make a public figure agree with an offensive political position?

“It’s not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a really difficult question who can use it, in what ways and when? โ€ says Gebhart, who talks to PopSci we used to have a look at how the function can work. “How do you moderate content change?”

These are problems that other platforms like Facebook and Reddit have worked to solve, but in a sense they are dealing with a completely different set of problems. Facebook and Reddit posts, both shown when a post has been edited, are rarely considered to be real-time responses to breaking news, which is a big part of the way people use Twitter. A simple editing magazine like Facebook or trying to create a community standard to explain your edits like in Reddit will not magically solve these problems. Twitter has its own unique culture of retweeting and embedding, in which a post can go viral in thousands of accounts. What happens to all retweets if the tweet is updated?

For example, imagine someone posting a statement like “Dogs are better than cats” and you retweet it. The original Tweeter then edited his post to say that “Cats are better than dogs.” Does the retweet remain unedited? Or has the retweet been edited and you are now in a completely different position? It remains to be seen, but it has the potential to be very messy – even if a tweet that has been edited is marked as such.

To this end, the recent Twitter publications on the topic (embedded below) by Wong โ€” who TechCrunch describes as a “reverse engineer” – illustrates more about what audiences can see with an edit button in the near future. As she puts it, a tweet that contains edited content will also include an “Edited” label at the bottom. Moreover, the original tweet that has been edited will also say, “There is a new version of this tweet.” In other words, the feature “recreates a new tweet with changed content, along with a list of old tweets before this edition,” she said. The Tweet Edit feature. may be available via the three-dot menu in the upper right corner of a posted tweet, perhaps for a window of 30 minutes after the first message was sent.


The pros and cons of finally getting an edit button on Twitter

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