Twitter’s new edit button has been spotted online, giving us our first look at the upcoming feature's functionality and, importantly, how it preserves the original tweets before any edits were made.
Shared online by researcher Jane Manchun Wong (opens in new tab), Twitter’s still-in-development edit button makes it plainly obvious that a tweet has been edited, as alongside the time and date for the tweet there will now be a new clickable icon that indicates the tweet has either been “Edited” or that “There’s a new version of the Tweet”.
Beyond the new icon that indicates edits have been made to a tweet, it appears that Twitter’s edit button will allow users to change all the content of a tweet, including the text and any attached media. However, the feature is far from perfect in its current stage of development.
As highlighted by Wong in later tweets (opens in new tab), Twitter’s current version of the edit button chooses to reupload any attached media rather than reusing them from the original tweet, which is an inefficient use of bandwidth. Occasionally, editing a tweet will even turn an original tweet’s video into a static image, which is far from ideal.
Analysis: Potentially more harm than good
With edited tweets being preserved for all to see, Twitter’s in-development edit button is slowly looking less and less useful to the majority of users on the platform. First envisioned as a way to fix minor errors in tweets, such as spelling or grammar mistakes, without having to delete and rewrite a tweet, Twitter’s new edit button has now evolved into a tool for keeping people honest and accurate.
While editing past tweets in the wake of new information will undoubtedly be an important tool in Twitter’s future, especially once the self-appointed king of free speech, Elon Musk, takes over the company, the feature currently appears to be beset by problems and primed for exploitation by those potentially looking to capitalize on a popular tweet.
Thankfully, prominent tags to indicate whether or not a tweet has been edited should help to keep people honest while using the feature, however, it remains to be seen how many users will click through to past versions of tweets once the feature officially rolls out.