Wednesday October 05, 2022

Here’s Twitter’s edit button, which is still in development

Twitter’s edit button was a joke for a while, but it’s finally becoming a reality. Jane Manchun Wong is the woman who makes it her mission find hidden features within companies’ codes and has just given us a glimpse of what it might look. The editing part is quite simple. You simply click the button “Edit Tweet” from the drop-down context menu and then you can edit a single tweet. It looks like you will have 30 minutes to hit the button after publishing a tweet. This will open a window with all of your original content. You can then publish anything you like, or delete it and start over. It’s not only for typos.

The current unreleased version Edit Tweet reuploads media instead of reusing it. An inefficient use of bandwidth and media processing power could cause loss. plus it turns my video into an image (mishandling media type)– Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 2, 2022

The bigger question is what happens afterwards. How can readers tell if you altered your tweets after they are done? It’s easy: you’ll see a small “Edited” button next to the timestamp. Click it to go to an Edit History Page that should show all previous versions of the tweet.

How an edited Tweet looks like on Twitter Web App:– Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 2, 2022

(Ignore the tweet that says “Edit: Soup”; Wong added it for dramatic effect.
Wong pointed out that Twitter seems to make each tweet immutable. Each version of a tweet has its own ID and can’t be deleted. It’s unclear if Twitter’s backend will automatically spread the latest version across the internet. What happens if you see an old embedded Verge story that has been rewritten? Will you see the new tweet? Unclear!
Twitter will alert you even if you are viewing the original, unedit version of the tweet. Below is the “There’s an updated version of this tweet” link. Click that to go to the latest version.

How an old Tweet edit looks like on Twitter Web App:– Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 2, 2022

Wong says that it will probably work this way if you sum it all:

trump tweets “covefe” originally. The tweets get ID #1, people embed ID #1
Then trump creates a “coffee” edit. The ID #2 edit (technically, a new tweet) is given to the new edit. The original tweet (#1) is the first version of the Tweet.
The embedded tweet, which still points at #1, now shows that “there’s an updated version of this Tweet” indicator

It makes sense to me. It sounds very similar to the solution Verge contributing editor Casey Newton suggested back in 2017
I propose an option in the tweet’s inverted caret drop-down menu. It reads: “Edit tweet.” You can tap it to correct any error and republish. The new version of the tweet is available everywhere there is a tweet, including retweets or quote-tweets. A prominent new word, “edited”, appears next to the tweet’s timestamp. Tap the word to display the previous versions of the tweet below the current one.
It sounds more like Edit History is a different page than the one that is neatly unrolling beneath.
Wong hasn’t been able yet to publish any edited, completed tweets to Twitter’s actual backend. These findings are therefore very tentative. She ran the app client-side to see the user interface in action.

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