Twitter users have been pleading for an edit option for tweets for the longest time and the social media company seems to have finally paid attention to that. Although an edit button is not exactly what Twitter is introducing, the new option is called ‘’undo send”, the purpose of which is to let users recall their tweet within a 5-second window.
Twitter is working on “Undo Send” timer for tweets pic.twitter.com/nS0kuijPK0— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 5, 2021
The format of this feature has not yet been finalized as it is still being tested, but it seems like it would be an effective and useful tool for users to reflect on any errors in their tweet before posting it. Some users may still not feel very happy with the update, though, especially those who are advocates of the edit button.
In addition to providing users with a moment to catch any mistakes in their tweet, the “undo send” option can also be of use in terms of having users re-evaluate the content that they post with clarity. Therefore, it could possibly bring a reduction in offensive or harmful comments. Twitter has used a similar strategy with its 'read before retweeting' prompt, which contributed to people opening articles 40% more often.
Twitter explained its new option with the following statement:
"The reason we don’t have edit in the first place is we were built on SMS, we were built on text messaging. Once you send a text, you can’t take it back. So when you send a tweet it goes to the world instantaneously. You can’t take it back. You could build it as such so maybe we introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending. And within that window, you can edit. The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it."