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This Is How Twitter’s Edit Button Can Actually Work

The ability to edit tweets is coming

In June 2021, Twitter told the world "you don't need an edit button, you just need to forgive yourself." Twitter founder Jack Dorsey even held firm against Kim Kardashian’s pleas when she cornered him at Kanye West’s birthday party in 2018. For years, the platform has held out against editing tweets. Until now. An edit button is imminent—but tricky questions remain about how it can be implemented without causing chaos.

"Everybody thinks it’s very easy to just put in an edit button," said Christina Wodtke, a lecturer in computer science at Stanford University. Wodtke, who has worked on product design projects at LinkedIn, MySpace, Zynga and Yahoo, argues that such a seemingly simple change will require a lot of careful thought. She shares a hypothetical situation: Donald Trump—whose return to Twitter some fear may be more likely since Elon Musk's ascension to Twitter's board—tweets something shocking or offensive. He subsequently edits his post to blunt its rough edges. But people have already responded to the content of the initial tweet, making their reactions nonsensical.

The obvious solution to that is a Slack- or Facebook-like change log of edits, where people can view the history of changes on a post. Facebook has let people edit posts since June 2012—but it's a feature that has regularly been abused by scammers since its rollout. Alex Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook and now an adjunct professor at Stanford, noted that Facebook’s post-editing tools helped legitimize a cryptocurrency scam page to con users. Editing pages is a core feature of Wikipedia, but that leads to “edit wars” where individuals argue about the wording of an entry, including an 11-year battle over the origins of the Caesar salad. Similar third-party tools exist for Twitter bios, such as Spoonbill, which can track how a person’s profile has been amended over time. 

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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