Exclusive: It’s taken years but Twitter is finally poised to launch its most requested feature: an edit button.
The social network confirmed testing on an ‘Edit Tweets’ feature was now in its late stages and would roll out to users “in the coming weeks”.
But there are strict limits on how users will be able to change what they’ve posted — including a 30-minute edit window — in order to maintain “a publicly accessible record of what was said”.
Social media experts have cautiously welcomed the move, along with the new rules that treat tweets like “publications”.
Twitter confirmed rumours it had been developing a method to edit tweets on Thursday after years of requests and speculation.
“It’s true: Edit tweet is being tested by our team internally,” the company published in a blog post.
“The test will then be initially expanded to Twitter Blue subscribers in the coming weeks.”
It’s understood Twitter will paying its subscribers in one country to test the editing feature first, with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US possible candidates.
Australia could be a strong chance to be the first after the tech giant chose the country to debut its $4.99 monthly subscription service in June 2021 with an ‘undo’ function.
Twitter’s new editing feature will work in a similar way, letting users change what they’ve posted to the social network several times within 30 minutes of its publication.
Edited tweets will appear with an icon, timestamp and label to indicate they’ve been changed.
Other users will also be able to click on a link to see the original tweet and determine what has been edited.
“For context, the time limit and version history play an important role here,” the company said. “They help protect the integrity of the conversation and create a publicly accessible record of what was said.”
The new feature will also not change the content of retweets or quote-tweets on the network, the company confirmed, but would show the original post with a link to the new, edited version.
Swinburne University social media senior lecturer Dr Belinda Barnet said the move was a “massive” one for the social network after so many requests for an edit feature “it’s almost a running joke”.
“Twitter users have been requesting an edit button since the inception of the platform but it’s been really difficult to introduce because if you’re going to do it responsibly you need to keep track of what was said,” she said.
“Once you’ve tweeted at the moment, it’s sealed in stone unless you delete it – or people screenshot it. This is giving you the option to change that while acknowledging what the tweet said.”
Dr Barnet said the change would be “complicated” to roll out but welcomed the ways Twitter had tried to maintain a record of what was originally posted “like a publication of sorts”.
The Edit tweet feature is expected to launch during September.
Originally published as Twitter confirms edit feature to launch in ‘weeks’ with limits on what users can do