At long last, Twitter is working on an edit button. For years, Twitter users have clamored for an edit button, most often to fix a pesky typo. And for the longest time, it seemed like the feature would remain something akin to a Twitter user’s white whale. However, on April 5, Twitter’s communications account announced—via tweet, of course—that an edit button is on the way. (We first saw this at The Verge.) In the tweet, Twitter Comms said that the edit feature has been in development since 2021, and the company will begin testing the feature with Twitter Blue users, who pay a subscription fee for access to premium features, in the coming months. And it seems like testing for a Twitter edit button has finally arrived.
It’s certainly a shocking turn of events for those who thought this would never happen. Twitter did after all, make its initial announcement on April Fool’s Day. But Twitter Comms reiterated that they were not kidding about the tweet, so the joke was on all of us this year. The Twitter edit button is a real thing and it’s really happening.
Twitter Is Testing an Edit Button
This is all extremely exciting for Twitter users tired of seeing a small spelling error or broken link mess with an otherwise perfect tweet. The most recent Twitter edit button updates share a little bit more about how this feature will work. A blog post from Twitter notes, “Edit Tweet is a feature that lets people make changes to their Tweet after it’s been published. Think of it as a short period of time to do things like fix typos, add missed tags, and more.”
In the current iteration of the edit button test, “Tweets will be able to be edited a few times in the 30 minutes following their publication. Edited Tweets will appear with an icon, timestamp, and label, so it’s clear to readers that the original Tweet has been modified. Tapping the label will take viewers to the Tweet’s Edit History, which includes past versions of the Tweet.”
For now Twitter will test the edit feature with a small group. And the test will then expand to allow Twitter Blue subscribers access to the edit button. Twitter Blue, of course, is a paid Twitter subscription. Currently, the cost of Twitter Blue cost $4.99 per month.
Twitter notes it will pay close attention to how the “feature impacts the way people read, write, and engage with Tweets.”
More About Twitter’s Edit Feature
In April, Twitter’s head of consumer product Jay Sullivan further unpacked what the edit button actually means in a thread. In it, he stated that the company is looking at how to safely implement the new feature. His language, specifically regarding safety, is noteworthy given edit button detractors have long suggested that users, especially those looking to sow misinformation, might abuse the feature.
3/ Without things like time limits, controls, and transparency about what has been edited, Edit could be misused to alter the record of the public conversation. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work.— Jay Sullivan (@jaysullivan) April 5, 2022
5/ This is just one feature we are exploring as we work to give people more choice and control over their Twitter experience, foster a healthy conversation, and help people be more comfortable on Twitter. These are the things that motivate us every day.— Jay Sullivan (@jaysullivan) April 5, 2022
Sullivan notes that for the most part, people want a Twitter edit button to correct small mistakes without taking the current approach, which is deleting the error-filled tweet and tweeting again with a clean copy. However, he does acknowledge the potential for abuse and misuse. He notes, “Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is our top priority when we approach this work.”
As such, it’ll probably be a while before the average Twitter user can fix a simple mistake. Sullivan indicated that Twitter will dive into all angles of the edit button, including anything adversarial. He also noted the company will seek input throughout the development process.
On the surface, this all sounds like a fairly positive way of going about things. The company taking a thorough approach is certainly preferable to launching a feature only to realize it was a terrible idea. ( I’m talking about Fleets. RIP Fleets.)
We still have many questions about what a Twitter edit button will look like and what it will do. But, hopefully, our Twitter Blue pals give us the inside scoop as they access the preview feature.
Originally published on April 6.