It’s 2019 and, in two months, Twitter would be 13 years old. A lot has changed since it launched in 2006 but one thing has not: its inability to edit tweets. This feature has long been requested to not only edit embarrassing typos but also to clarify erroneous statements. Knowing too well the can of worms it could open, the social networking giant has tread carefully on how to implement that feature. And CEO Jack Dorsey has a few ideas that sadly still remain unimplemented.
In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, Dorsey explains why Twitter didn’t have that feature from the beginning. It had to do with it being built on SMS, where there are no take-backsies. That may have been understandable in 2006 but not today. There is, of course, a deeper reason behind that fear.
It’s too easy to get lost in Twitter, and we don’t just mean the addiction. It’s easy to get lost in a thread of conversation, forgetting who the thread starter was. That’s why Twitter was recently testing an “Original Tweeter” feature so you will always know who to blame.
Being able to edit tweets, while convenient, can also lead so scenarios where the author would deny saying this or that. It would also be confusing not to know what others were reacting to as well. Dorsey admits that they’ve been considering showing the original unedited tweet, just for evidence.
An alternative to editing tweets, Dorsey proposes, is to delay sending a tweet for 5 to 30 seconds. That should give people enough time to reflect on and proofread their tweets. Considering how people use Twitter, however, that’s probably just going to drive them away to other social networks.