Elon Musk could bring Twitter an edit button, but not everyone wants it

Linda D. Garrow

Tesla CEO and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk disclosed earlier this week that he had 9.2% stake in Twitter, worth $3 billion. The makes him the largest shareholder of Twitter. Now, it seems Musk will be using his pull over Twitter to bring one change to the app that users have been waiting for for years – an ‘Edit’ button.

“Do you want an edit button?” asked Musk in a straightforward tweet, leaving a poll attached with two options, perhaps intentionally mistyped as ‘yse’ and ‘on’. This may or may not be a clever nod to spelling mistakes, one of the major reasons Twitter users have been asking for an edit button.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal quote tweeted Musk’s tweet saying “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

Twitter itself announced that it was working on an edit button on April 1, which many suspected to be an April Fool’s prank. As per a report by Reuters, when asked if the tweet was a joke, the company replied, “We cannot confirm or deny but we may edit our statement later.”

For some context, an edit button has been a highly requested feature on the micro-blogging platform for years now. Twitter, a platform often used by many journalists, politicians and other influential people across the globe has always maintained its rigidity around tweets, allowing no changes to a tweet once it has been posted.

25% users don’t want an edit button

There still exists debate around whether Twitter should have an edit button or not. At the time of writing this story, the vote on Musk’s tweet stands at 75 per cent users in favour of an edit button, and 25 per cent users against it.

Liz Wheeler of The Liz Wheeler Show (@Liz_Wheeler) comments on the poll about how an edit button could be misused to change the sentiment or meaning of a tweet entirely after it has gained a lot of traction. Meta CTO Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth (@boztank) pointed out that a simple ‘edited’ mark on tweets that have been edited could solve this problem, a move that Facebook currently implements.

There may be other ways to make sure this doesn’t happen, like making tweets editable only after a certain period of time after they’re published. This would help users correct spelling mistakes, tag people they forgot to tag or make other quick changes in important tweets. As of now, such tweets need to be deleted and posted again.

Twitter is likely still deciding whether or not an edit button should come to the platform, and it remains to be seen how much weight Musk’s poll will have on the final decision. Perhaps we will find out in the weeks to come.


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