Elon Musk's poll shows Twitter users want an edit button, here's why the platform has yet to add the feature
Since its launch 16 years ago, Twitter has changed over the years adding new features like Spaces, but one popularly demanded function has yet to arrive: the edit button.
Hours after news broke of Elon Musk buying a large stake in Twitter on April 4, the Tesla CEO asked users on the platform asking if they want an edit button on the site. As of writing, 2.7 million users have voted with a whopping 73.4% of them voting "yes" on the poll.
Do you want an edit button?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
On April 2, Twitter itself also said that they are working on the feature, after previously saying the edit option is not in the cards for the platform.
we are working on an edit button— Twitter (@Twitter) April 1, 2022
Currently, if someone wants to change something with their tweets, they have the option to correct themselves through the replies or delete the tweet altogether.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal retweeted Musk's poll, which indicates the results could mean changes to the site.
"The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully," he wrote.
The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully. https://t.co/UDJIvznALB— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 5, 2022
So why hasn't Twitter added the edit feature yet after all this time?
Weighing the pros and cons
In 2020, former CEO Jack Dorsey said he wanted to "preserve" Twitter's origins through the uneditable tweets.
"The reason there's no edit button and there hasn't been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text messaging service," he told WIRED. "So as you all know, when you send a text, you can't really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days."
Previously, Twitter experimented with that would provide a short delay between sending a tweet to when it's posted—something like Gmail's unsend feature.
Dorsey also noted the implications that could come with the edit button, like if someone changes their messages completely.
"You might send a tweet and then someone might retweet that, and then an hour later you completely change the contents of that tweet, and that person that retweeted the original tweet is now retweeting and rebroadcasting something completely different, so that's something to watch out for," he said.
Other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to edit their posts for typos and broken links. While posts don't necessarily have the "Edited" tag on them, users can see an edit history to read the previous iteration of it.
In response to Musk's poll, astronaut Tim Dodd suggested some conditions for the edit button to avoid complications.
"[The edit feature should] only be available for a few minutes, five to 10 minutes. And when an edit is made, there's a small link that shows the edit," he said. "This keeps a public record but allows the tweeter the ability to fix a simple mistake and not re-notify their followers with a new tweet."
Under two conditions. It’s only available for a few minutes, 5-10 mins. And when an edit is made, there’s a small link that shows the edit. This keeps a public record but allows the tweeter the ability to fix a simple mistake and not re-notify their followers with a new tweet— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) April 5, 2022
The SpaceX CEO said this is reasonable, while other users said there shouldn't be a timer on editing if there will be an edit history.
Why does everyone want a time limit? Why is it necessary? As long as there is a history what does it matter? Also, twitter should notify anyone who retweeted, replied, or liked a tweet so they can decide if they want to remove or edit their comments.— David Erickson (@beachhouse13) April 5, 2022
No - make it always available, not just for a few min. But show what was edited and when.— Sanna Lee (@sanna_lee) April 5, 2022
What are your thoughts on the edit tweet feature?