Rumor: Twitter Edit feature is in the works

twitter bird

According to multiple sources who spoke to former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys, the micro-blogging giant Twitter is mulling a new feature that would let users edit tweets after they’ve been published. The edit feature has reportedly been “a top priority” for Twitter as the company’s been exploring ways to make its service more useful.

An edit could only be performed once per tweet, source claim, with edited tweets becoming immediately visible on both the user’s feed and on the feed of anyone who re-tweeted the tweet.

Facebook back in September introduced editable statuses, with post editing now available in Facebook’s free iPhone and iPad app, so the notion of Twitter’s Edit feature doesn’t really sound far-fetched at all…

Matthew explains how the feature would work:

Once a user publishes a tweet, an “edit” feature will be present for a limited amount of time (Twitter is still currently working out the length of time the feature would be available).

The feature would allow a user to make “slight changes” to the contents of a tweet, such a removing a word, correcting a typo or adding one or two additional words.

This has been allegedly confirmed by three Twitter employees close to the project.

I think Twitter Edit is a no-brainer.

Currently, users who rush out a tweet only to realize they’ve made a typo – like myself – must delete the tweet altogether and post a new one. Not only is this annoying and note very user-friendly, it breaks the conversation flow when one of your followers re-tweets or quotes the old tweet before you had a chance to remove it.

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On the flip side, the feature could open door to misuses.

For example, I could publish a viral tweet to collect a large amount of re-tweets and then change it to display an ad.

Twitter though of that, too – the company is allegedly developing an “editorial algorithm” that could “detect” whether your edits have changed the overall meaning or intention of the tweet, as opposed to fixing a minor mistake or retracting an erroneous report.

This editorial algorithm is “weeks, or months at the most” from completion, the sources claimed. Another option, the story goes, is to put a limit on the number of characters you’d be allowed to insert or delete.

As with all unreleased features, the ability to edit already-published tweets will be probably in testing with Twitter’s select partners, media outlets, celebrities and verified accounts before the company is confident enough to roll it out to its massive audience.

I for one am certainly anxious to see this deployed, especially on mobile where most of the typos occur (I’m looking at you, auto-correct!).

Editable tweets would of course be much welcomed and are “desperately needed”, as Wired’s Mat Honan wrote back in April, but something tells me this feature won’t cut down on the amount of typo-ridden Twitter bios out there.