Twitter's approach to editable tweets is starting to make sense.
Two weeks after announcing that Editable Tweets were coming to the social platform, the beta code is starting to pop up for some users - though most of it doesn't appear functional.
Even so, we're learning about two crucial aspects of the long-hoped-for feature.
First, there is how Twitter will manage edited Tweets. According to tech blogger Jane Manchun Wong, Twitter may not let you directly edit and republish a tweet and might, instead, create a new tweet with a new ID and then keep a record of the previous tweet along with it in a list. In other words, we won't be directly editing Tweets but creating versions.
When I asked Wong how she surmised this, she told me that she was "seeing this in the code, and describing the approach based on it".
If this turns out the be the case, it's probably the best and most historically accurate approach in that no one can simply edit a tweet and act as if the original tweet didn't happen (unless they delete it).
Looks like Twitter’s approach to Edit Tweet is immutable, as in, instead of mutating the Tweet text within the same Tweet (same ID), it re-creates a new Tweet with the amended content, along with the list of the old Tweets prior of that editApril 16, 2022
The second tidbit of information also comes from Twitter and shows that the Edit option is starting to appear, sporadically, on some accounts. For 9to5Google contributor Dylan Roussel, it showed up in the list of options under each tweet's ellipses.
As you might expect, the option has the words "Edit Tweet" next to a pencil icon (would a big eraser have been more appropriate?). However, despite the icon appearing, the feature still doesn't work. To date, no one at TechRadar has seen similar beta features pop up in their Twitter apps and Web interfaces.
Uh oh! 👀@Twitter's edit button can already be enabled. It doesn't work yet, but I'll keep an eye on it! pic.twitter.com/7hyCAxsSymApril 16, 2022
Twitter promised to start testing the feature with Twitter Blue members, i.e. those paying for Twitter's new $3.49 a month premium service. It's unclear how many people are actually paying for that and it would be fair to worry that the beta test could be incredibly limited.
Still, it is exciting to see Twitter take the first steps toward editable tweets, a feature enhancement loyal Twitter users have been talking about and asking for well over a decade. It's also comforting to know that Twitter is taking a measured approach to changing the timeline, by not truly allowing people to simply alter history, but maybe restate it while keeping the record intact.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.