Twitter’s highly requested edit button is not officially available quite yet. However, reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong has been able to break down its inner workings.
According to Wong, Twitter’s in-development edit buttons may leave a history of the tweet’s edits. Wong states that the edit feature is “immutable.” This would mean that when a tweet is edited, Twitter creates a brand new tweet, leaving previous versions intact in some capacity.
“Instead of mutating the Tweet text within the same Tweet (same ID), it re-creates a new Tweet with the amended content, along with the list of the old Tweets prior of that edit,” Manchun Wong says in her tweet.
Looks like Twitter’s approach to Edit Tweet is immutable, as in, instead of mutating the Tweet text within the same Tweet (same ID), it re-creates a new Tweet with the amended content, along with the list of the old Tweets prior of that edit
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 16, 2022
What this means for visibility on the user’s end is still unclear. Twitter could perhaps show records of a tweet’s edit and its previous versions. Many users and critics of the idea of an edit button have raised concerns over transparency. Showing records of a tweet could avoid the inevitable backlash if and when a tweet is edited to fix public records or mislead an audience. However, there’s also a chance that Twitter could avoid providing a visible history of edits altogether.
Alessandro Paluzzi, an app researcher, tweeted a screenshot showing the updated UI, which includes the ‘Edit Tweet’ feature. Apparently, the ability to edit a tweet is in the three-dot menu on the right side of an individual tweet. Hitting this button, users are lead to a screen to compose a tweet with the option to “Update” the original text. Paluzzi’s screenshots do not indicate whether an edit history will be available, though.
Users have been extremely vocal about wanting edit functionality on Twitter. The company first publicly announced the development of the feature on April Fool’s Day. The Twitter Comms account later followed up, clarifying that yes, the company is working on the feature. In fact, Twitter has “been working on an edit feature since last year,” the account states.
As for when an official rollout will kick off, it does appear to be further down the line. Twitter Blue subscribers are the first to gain access to the edit button “in the coming months.”