Twitter is working on a new feature that would allow users to edit tweets once they are published, three sources close to the project have confirmed to The Desk.
Those sources, who asked to be identified only as Twitter employees, say the feature has been a top priority at the company for months as Twitter pushes to expand partnerships among media organizations and original content producers.
According to sources and documents reviewed by The Desk, the new Twitter feature would look something like this:
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.
An edit could only be performed once per tweet. Once the edit is made, it would be immediately visible on that user’s Twitter feed. The edit would also show up on the feed of anyone who re-published the tweet using Twitter’s built-in “re-tweet” feature.
Twitter wants to enable users to immediately debunk incorrect information, especially erroneous tweets that go viral. However, Twitter wants users to be able to edit a tweet without changing the overall purpose — in other words, Twitter doesn’t want a user to post a news story, accumulate a large amount of re-tweets, and then change the tweet to display a promotion or advertisement.
To solve this problem, Twitter is looking at a few things, including limitations on how many characters or words a user would be allowed to insert or delete. According to sources, Twitter is also developing an “editorial algorithm” that, if it works correctly, would be able to “detect” whether or not a user is attempting to change the overall intention of the tweet instead of fixing a minor mistake or retracting an erroneous report.
Sources say Twitter’s editorial algorithm, still being developed, is projected to be finished in a matter of “weeks, or months at the most.”
Thank all the little gods, editable tweets – of a sort – are coming.