Twitter May Finally Get Edit Tool

The Desk's Matthew Keys reports that Twitter is working on a new feature that will allow customers to edit their tweets once they go live. This bit of news arrives by way of unnamed Twitter employees who are close to the project, claiming that Twitter made this feature a top priority for the last several months as the company pushes to expand partnerships among original content producers and media organizations.

According to the report, an edit feature will go live for a limited time once a tweet is published. The edit feature will only allow slight changes such as correcting a misspelled word, adding a couple of words, or removing a word. Even more, an edit can only be done once per tweet. These changes will be seen immediately by the author, and those who re-tweet the post.

Keys states that Twitter wants users to be able to edit their tweets without changing the overall theme. For example, Twitter doesn't want a news story – one that accumulates a ton of re-tweets – to be changed into an advertisement. To prevent that from happening, Twitter is weighing its options such as limiting the number of characters the user can add or delete.

Sources claim that Twitter is developing an "editorial algorithm" that can detect whether the user is editing the entire tweet, or just fixing typos. This algorithm is still in development, but is expected to be completed in several weeks, or in a few months at the most. Sources claim Twitter's new algorithm will be "one of the most-advanced in the industry."

Twitter will reportedly start making the edit tool readily available to a select few once a solid editing tool is ripe and ready for the picking. This select few will likely include celebrities, public officials and verified news organizations. This feature will be far from perfect, sources claim, as there's no "stamp" saying the tweet was edited. The algorithm will also be prone to error.

Twitter experiments with many different features all the time, meaning this unannounced edit tool may never see the light of day. Yet this is one feature that Twitter desperately needs, as seen in 2011 when National Public Radio erroneously reported on Twitter that former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords had died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Keys says that Twitter is well aware that its platform can be used to distribute misinformation. Perhaps that's why the company made the edit tool such a high priority. We shall see within the next several months whether this tool goes live, or dies with the other unused experiments.