Like unsending an email
In a recent interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the ability to edit tweets is still a feature that may be added in the future.
“The reason we don’t have edit in the first place is we were built on SMS, we were built on text messaging. Once you send a text, you can’t take it back. So when you send a tweet it goes to the world instantaneously. You can’t take it back.
"You could build it as such so maybe we introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending. And within that window, you can edit. The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it.”
Editing tweets is a highly divisive topic. Some think it’s a long-overdue, common-sense feature, while others warn it would allow people to ‘change history’ by getting loads of retweets for something and then changing their message entirely.
There’s no reason why you can’t have a common-sense feature with sensible safeguards against its abuse.
The system Dorsey suggests is not that different to the 'unsend email’ option in Gmail. Sure, the Gmail feature works by not actually sending your email until the time window for editing it has ended, but from a user interface point of view it’s the same.
And in that short time window, an edit could even automatically scrub all likes and retweets people give to the original tweet. Or it could keep them and show a clear 'edited’ flag that can be tapped to reveal the original tweet.
I just fail to see why this simple, obvious product feature wasn’t deployed years ago. Except as, numerous profiles of Dorsey have stated over the years, he’s notoriously indecisive on everything from tiny product tweaks to how to handle the far-right.
Editing tweets doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just deploy it already, Jack.