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Twitter’s upcoming edit feature is a bad idea – here’s why

This is not a good idae.

Image: KnowTechie

Twitter, a tool designed for harassment and fostering misinformation, allows us a distorted view of the world.

In this world, we can ebarfulate (electronically puking out nonsense from our brains) our commentary on world events, stupid jokes, and clinically worrisome depressive content. Twitter is free to use. This means we are the ones being used.

But since it’s all a temporary distraction as we careen towards the great relief of death, we don’t give a shit and we post all day every day.

READ MORE: How to edit a tweet on Twitter

World events? We’re experts. Sociological interactions? We’ve got opinions. Female journalists? Harassed endlessly by newly created anon accounts with three followers.

There is one thing that Twitter has going for it. Since it is used by government officials (which, in my opinion, no elected official should be allowed to use social media, as half of them have just become trolls in the process), some tweets are held in the Library of Congress. This at least lends some authenticity to the historical tweet record.

Unless Twitter was to introduce a feature that could create reasonable doubt and further obfuscate the truth.

Like a f*ing edit button.

A few things have led to us revisiting the edit button on Twitter

tweet by elon musk on march 26 2022
Image: Elon Musk

Billionaire shit poster Elon Musk now owns 9.2% of Twitter, after whining about wanting to create a new social network that — in his rich, privileged opinion — fully embraces free speech. Which, in not too uncertain terms, would allow hate speech, harassment, and racism without consequence.

Musk posted a poll, highlighting a common misunderstanding of the definition of free speech (it protects citizens from the government), somehow equating the operations of a private company offering a free service to democracy.

Then Musk asked if users want an edit button. As if this would solve any of his perceived issues with the platform. Rather, it would make an already tenuous arena of filth and villainy worse.

Then things got real stupid. The official Twitter account posted on April 1st that it was working on an edit button. Ha ha. What a great joke.

But wait, it’s apparently not a joke. The Twitter communications team then tweeted on April 5th that it’s not a joke and testing has been going on for a year.

This week on Twitter has felt like trying to swallow a cinder block, then being told you have to chew it

Late last year Twitter tweeted that your typo makes it original but users, ignorant of the effects of any new feature and embroiled in their selfishness, seem to really want an edit feature.

Why? Most of us have shat out thousands of tweets into the world. Is every tweet so important that we need to edit it? After all, to err is to be human. Regardless, tweets entered into the public record with misspellings might ruffle the egos of those who spat them.

While the ability to edit things we communicate to the world — whether it is emails, Facebook posts, Word documents, or PowerPoint presentations — does have intrinsic value to understanding human communication, the ephemeral nature of Twitter itself is an antithesis of an editing feature.

That being said, if an edit feature was added, there are correct ways to implement it. And severely incorrect ways.

While our faith in Silicon Valley tech companies would be considered blind no matter how many times we’ve been burnt, it would still behoove Twitter to consider the effect of allowing tweets to be edited.

Twitter needs to ensure a couple of things with an edit feature

iphone showing twitter edit button example
Image: KnowTechie

The right way to implement an editing feature (and the socially responsible one) would be to display, preserve or otherwise retain the historical purity of the original tweet.

It must exist with easy access and viewing of the original tweet. It’s an internet fact that corrections (to news stories, inaccurate tweets, or otherwise) are shared and viewed at an exponentially lesser rate. Not to mention the negative responses to fact-checking itself.

By nature, misinformation refuses to be corrected. Without a clear historical record of edited tweets, it will create a swirling cesspool of irregular realities and perceptual nonsense. As if Twitter isn’t already akin to that.

There is some hope, however, as the current CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, was in charge of Project Bluesky at Twitter. That project sought to develop a decentralized social network protocol. Which basically translates to *waves vaguely* the blockchain.

However, as an unspoken rule, tech companies tend to roll out features without considering the full application of said features. While Twitter might have been working on an edit button for a year to this point, that doesn’t mean it won’t just roll out something that works, rather than something that works right.

Which leaves us where? Willing to quit Twitter because it’ll be lies upon lies, leaving the truth somewhere underfoot? Willing to pay for Twitter Blue to have access to an edit feature, or to avoid it?

Or, the most likely resolution for most of us, is that nothing will change. We’ll continue to shitpost on the daily. Because in the end, it’s all a twisted perception of reality and nothing matters — most of all, our dumbass tweets.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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A tech writer on the internet for over 15 years for outlets such as Forbes, Wired, TNW, and others, Curtis is exhausted, burnt out and happy to just write buying guides and the occasional review for KnowTechie, the best tech blog your mom never told you about. Ephemeral existence for ephemeral times. Please send pitches and grainy pictures of the inside of your elbow to kevin@knowtechie.com

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