Why Twitter Shouldn’t Get an Edit Button

Why Twitter Shouldn’t Get an Edit Button
If you’re an active Twitter user, it won’t be difficult to remember a time where you’ve composed and posted a tweet – only to find an error after. Without an edit button like on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you’re forced to copy, delete, amend, and post the tweet all over again.

Wouldn’t it be convenient and user-friendly to just include an edit tweet button?

We’re sure many of the 336 million users and countless high-profile people would agree. Let’s think back to Donald Trump's famous ‘covfefe’ tweet, for example. We’re sure Trump would have been desperate for an edit button then.

Why is Twitter reluctant to introduce an edit button?

Well, there’s more to it than just spelling mistakes. Being able to change a small error in your tweet would of course be hugely convenient, however, it leaves room for this feature to be mishandled. Social media has become a huge source of ‘trolling’, abuse and bullying. If someone chooses to tweet something hurtful and damaging, they should be made accountable. Twitter has promoted free speech since the beginning and it’s good to see that they haven’t given away an edit button simply to appease users, without thinking hard about the consequences. While it may be inconvenient for some, it is a positive thing that they encourage users to be accountable for their words without giving people an easy way out. One of the things that makes Twitter so famous is its ‘retweet’ feature. Let’s take Trump’s ‘covfefe’ accident, which was retweeted over 60,000 times, as an example. Though it is now deleted, what would have happened if Trump edited the tweet? There would be plenty of claims of ‘fake news’ for certain, but the retweets with captions would suddenly be taken out of context. The news outlets and political opposition reporting on it would suddenly have meaningless captions accompanying the retweeted post. Thousands would see a lot of critical posts for a mistake which wasn’t there anymore. The most recent example of such a case comes from Elon Musk’s accusation of paedophilia in an impulsive tweet. As a result of his poor judgement, Musk could be facing a defamation lawsuit against him. While his tweets may have been a snap emotional reaction, it is certainly a good thing that he is being made accountable for such a reckless and baseless accusation. Replace this with someone of a smaller profile. Perhaps one of the thousands of ‘trolls’ who abuse people online. With an edit feature, they could easily remove offensive material from their tweets to make themselves appear innocent. If the victim chose to report the hurtful remarks, they could be edited by the time the proper authorities review it. There are of course ways around this, but the change would need to be seamless to minimise the risk of abuse. Twitter could potentially keep track and show when a post has been edited like Facebook does. However, not everyone would check this, simply taking every tweet on face value. There are many issues surrounding Twitter’s decision to avoid an edit button. While it would improve the user experience, it would be a blow for personal accountability, giving online abusers a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Not only this but it could abuse the free speech which Twitter founders have promoted so much. It looks as though the highly entertaining celebrity Twitter blunders are here to stay...
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