Elon Musk, the billionaire Tesla CEO and long-time Twitter user who is now Twitter’s largest shareholder and a recently appointed board member, may have some ideas on a long-standing user request: Is it necessary to have an edit button?
Musk issued a Twitter poll on Monday evening asking if people wanted an edit button, misreading “yes” as “yse” and “no” as “on.” As of Tuesday morning, well over 3 million individuals had cast ballots. The poll will close at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
The poll was reposted with a cryptic reference to Musk’s earlier tweet, with a cryptic reference to “The results of this poll will have far-reaching implications.” Please vote with care. ” Musk used the same phrasing in a March tweet about another of his polls, this one asking whether Twitter follows free speech ideals.
Twitter representative Catherine Hill declined to comment on whether Agrawal was kidding, and she also declined to say whether the results of Musk’s poll would be followed by Twitter. In a tweet on Tuesday, Musk said he was looking forward to making “major enhancements to Twitter in the next few months!”
Many Twitter users have long wished for an edit button, including Kim Kardashian, Ice T, Katy Perry, and McDonald’s corporate account. “We are working on an edit button,” the business recently teased consumers in an April Fool’s Day tweet.
In a January 2020 Q&A, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that the company had explored adding an edit button, but that “we’ll probably never implement it.” He noted the need to maintain the spirit of Twitter’s text-messaging origins—texts cannot be edited—as well as the potential for confusion if users make modifications to a tweet that has already been widely shared by others. In November 2021, Dorsey stepped down as CEO.
For what it’s worth, Facebook owner Meta’s chief technology officer, Andrew Bosworth, tweeted on Monday that making major modifications to posts that had already gone viral was not an issue. (You may modify posts on Facebook.) He commented, “You merely include an indicator that it has been edited, as well as a change log.”
Others, however, argue that adding an edit option would change Twitter’s essence, making it less important as a historical repository for politicians’ and other high-profile people’s official pronouncements. For better or worse, Twitter has “become the de facto news wire,” according to Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor who specializes in social media and propaganda research.
Because tweets are frequently included in news reports, people who change important or controversial tweets without leaving evidence of the original comment may face complications. Instead, Grygiel proposes that Twitter users be given a window of time to alter their tweets before they are published.
“Facebook gives me the willies.”Elon Musk
According to Grygiel, allowing strong Twitter users to alter their tweets would no longer make them historical statements. “We need to consider the consequences, what these tweets mean, and who has the authority.”
A related proposal for a few-minute post-publication edit time “seems acceptable,” Musk added.
A redo button appears to be someone who could benefit from it. A $40 million SEC settlement and a requirement that Musk’s tweets be reviewed by corporate counsel followed his tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 per share when money was not secured. Musk is currently entangled in a legal battle over the deal.