Twitter users have been asking for the option to edit tweets ever since the service launched in 2006, but the company has always prevaricated, saying it’s looking into the problem, or considering it deeply, or a hundred other ways of saying “please stop bothering us about this, please.”
Now, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has given perhaps the most definitive answer on the question to date. During a video Q&A with Wired, Dorsey was asked if there’ll be an edit button for Twitter in 2020. He replies, with a faint smile: “The answer is no.” Watch below:
This isn’t a huge surprise. Although Twitter’s users have long argued for the benefits of an edit button, the company has always been ambivalent; happy to consider the question to placate its users, but never actually committing to a fix. As Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour said last summer: “Honestly, it’s a feature that I think we should build at some point, but it’s not anywhere near the top of our priorities.”
In the video Q&A, Dorsey expands on this thinking, noting that the decision to leave out an edit button has its roots in Twitter’s original design. “We started as an SMS, text message service. And as you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back,” he says. “We wanted to preserve that vibe, that feeling, in the early days.”
He notes that the service has moved on since, but the company doesn’t consider an edit button worth it. There are good reasons for editing tweets, he says, like fixing typos and broken links, but also malicious applications, like editing content to mislead people.
“So, these are all the considerations,” says Dorsey. “But we’ll probably never do it.”
But again, note that there’s just a sliver of ambiguity in what he says (“we’ll probably never do it”), which leaves open the possibility of enabling edits in future. Whether out of strategy or spite, Dorsey just won’t fully commit to an answer, giving himself the option of changing his mind in future. At least, then, he understands the appeal of an edit button.