"Give us an edit button!" has been the cry of the Twitter masses since the microblogging service started 14 years ago. Although the company sometimes claims to be considering the coveted role, it still hasn't landed.
This week, the company has once again spiced up the prospect of an edit button that the community can use to optimize their posts and correct typing errors after publication. In a tweet on Thursday July 2, Twitter said you could have an edit button … as long as everyone was wearing a face mask to slow the spread of the corona virus.
You can have an edit button if everyone is wearing a mask
– Twitter (@Twitter) July 2, 2020
"You can have an edit button if everyone is wearing a mask," the company said in its tweet, later explaining it with a follow-up message: "Everyone means EVERYONE." So don't expect an edit button soon.
Everyone means EVERYONE https://t.co/nJh5qMV0us
– Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) July 2, 2020
Twitter's view that face masks can help fight the pandemic is in line with the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are said to know a thing or two about the problem.
However, Twitter's decision to enter into the controversial debate about the effectiveness of face coverings and whether people should wear them should raise a stench on its platform, which already has many text-based tiffs at home. In fact, cynics might guess that Twitter's little joke is nothing more than a sloppy attempt by the company to increase engagement on its website by addressing the issue of the edit button next to masks, with no intention of really targeting it to react. But when everyone starts wearing a face cover, you never know …
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said in the past few years that his team had "thought a lot" about creating an edit button, but added that this had to be "done right". In an interview with Joe Rogan in 2019, Dorsey explained that if Twitter finally decides to include an edit button, you may not be able to edit tweets from the distant past, or even the ones you just posted.
Instead, he said the feature could offer "a 5-second to 30-second delay in sending" after clicking the "Post" button, much like some email clients did in the first seconds after clicking " Submit "offer an undo button. In other words, Dorse's idea of an edit button means that the tweet will not go live while you are allowed to edit it.
That may be good enough for most people, but first you have to convince everyone to wear a mask. Good luck with it.