An edit button won’t fix Twitter’s problems

Twitter has resisted adding the ability to edit tweets for years, despite it being the feature most requested by its users, including the potential owner. Elon Musk. Former CEO Jack Dorsey said back in 2020 that the company probably wouldn’t introduce an edit button at all, explaining that doing so would spoil the atmosphereFrom the early days of Twitter as an SMS messaging service.

Experts have repeatedly pointed out that the ability to edit tweets can allow bad actors to rewrite history and spread misinformation, even if the full history of the tweets is available.

For example, innocuous tweets that spread quickly can easily be modified to display misinformation or hate speech, and even if previous versions of a tweet were visible, it doesn’t necessarily mean people will look at them. The edit button would also, in theory, make high profile users whose tweets attract great hacker interest, if the bad actors knew that the tweets were guaranteed to have a wide audience.

Users will be alerted to the fact that the tweets have been edited with a code, timestamp and label, which Twitter He said It is designed to show that the original message has been modified within half an hour of being sent. Tweets can be edited “multiple times” during this time frame, and a history of how a tweet was changed will be shown by clicking on the label.

Twitter has acknowledged that people may abuse the feature, and says it is testing the capability. It’s probably an attempt to downplay the importance, says Konstantinos Komaitis, an Internet policy expert.

“Depending on how Twitter decides to design this, it could help people with misspellings, there’s nothing else for it, or it could change, I think, the whole public discourse and the way we interact, share understanding,” he says. .

Giving users an edit button can also be interpreted as a useful distraction from the deeper problems the platform is dealing with: namely the upcoming legal feud with Elon Musk, the stark privacy and security issues exposed by former security chief turned whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, and continuing concerns about Its deep-rooted inability to curb trolling, hate speech, and other toxic behaviour. The edit button does nothing to solve these problems.

Komites noted that alerting users that a tweet has been modified would be necessary to reduce the potential for abuse, using the example of someone who tweeted an image of a cute dog to generate positive responses, then swapping it with picture of Hitler.

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