Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed some of the hypothetical ways in which users may eventually be able to edit tweets, including offering a brief window to alter a tweet before it fully goes live.
However, Dorsey’s latest comments suggest that Twitter may take a different approach from tweet editing entirely.
In a presentation at Goldman Sachs earlier this week, Dorsey noted that the company is instead looking into a way for users to “clarify” tweets, rather than edit them.
“One thing that we’re seeing right now is people ‘being canceled’ because of past things that they said on Twitter,” said Dorsey. “There’s no credible way to go back and clarify, or have a conversation to show the learning and transition since.”
Dorsey’s “canceled” comment was presumably a reference to controversial instances like Kevin Hart recently stepping down as this year’s Oscar host after homophobic tweets from several years ago resurfaced or Disney firing James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July 2018 when old tweets about pedophilia were brought up again.
“How do we enable people to quickly go back or to any tweet, whether it be years back or today, and show that original tweet—kind of like a quote retweet, a retweet with comment—and to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted or what they might have meant?” added Dorsey. “By doing so, you might imagine that the original tweet then would not have the sort of engagement around it.
Dorsey suggested a feature where a Twitter user could make a clarification to an older tweet that would become linked to it in some way, not unlike how a quote tweet works. According to Dorsey, this would ensure that the old tweet always carries around this newly-added context and, hopefully, prevent any misunderstanding.
However, Dorsey acknowledged that this is merely “one approach” that the company could take, noting that it’s meant to demonstrate “the sorts of questions [Twitter is] going to ask” about these kinds of issues.
For the time being, Twitter users can continue to delete any of their old undesirable tweets at will.