Science

Does Twitter really need an “Edit” button?

The poll, launched by Elon Musk when he became Twitter’s first shareholder at the start of the year, did it spur thoughtful heads of the social network to start experimenting with the “Edit” button? Sea serpent almost since its inception, the implementation of this feature seems to have finally won the game, even though founder Jack Dorsey, a former general manager, confirmed in 2021 to Wired that introducing a tool to change tweets after they’ve been broadcast” probably never” will happen.

We already talked about this in 2013, when the then main competitor, Facebook, made this possible. American journalist Matthew Keys from Northern California, near Silicon Valley, said in an article: “Twitter is working on a new feature that will allow users to edit their tweets after they have been posted, information confirmed by three sources close to the project.” . He was only nine years ahead.

An experiment on Twitter Blue, but not in France

Thus, in early September, Twitter officially announced the launch of an experiment with the “Edit” button within the company for several months and its soon availability for users of the paid version of Twitter Blue. For now, it allows you to change your tweets multiple times within 30 minutes of posting them. The bluebird network has also clarified that edited tweets will be accompanied by symbols that clearly indicate that the original post has been corrected. And it will be possible to access earlier versions of the message. For Twitter, this should help “protect the integrity of the conversation” and “allow everyone to see what was said.”

Mathieu Flag, a digital transformation analyst and netizen since 2008, uses Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021. He uses a VPN to get this premium version only available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. . “The features are not revolutionary, but still a little different: I have 20 seconds after sending to confirm my tweet. For example, I accidentally wrote “supplement” instead of “completely”. I was able to cancel, change, resubmit. No appearance of the shell version. »

Twitter, separate network

According to Emmanuel Patry, social media specialist and founder of Social Media Lab, Twitter is “a social network with high virality potential and high organic visibility.” It’s real-time and almost without filters. “Everyone can come and comment on any information, because, as a rule, all posts are made publicly and can be found through the appropriate search,” adds Mathieu Flag. This is also the originality and uniqueness of Twitter. “Everyone can influence a topic, appear in TT (topical topics). It is often compared to the agora, especially in the political world, because everyone is free to express their opinion there,” adds Emmanuel Patri.

Moreover, the return of this “Edit” button to the news has generated numerous disputes in 280 characters. “Aren’t we limiting this button to certain types of fixes? Don’t we set a certain period when we can fix it? If a tweet was posted an hour ago, can I edit it? How noticeable is the fact that a tweet has been edited? “, can be tagged in tweets tagged #EditTwitter. Because depending on the parameters, the risks are different. A social media expert is campaigning for a “written and legible mention”. This tweet has been edited. See previous versions. “

Deviation risks

The biggest risk, he says, is with large accounts, “those with a very powerful and very fast commitment, because they are the ones who have the most power to spread the word.” By allowing the modification of a tweet that is already widely broadcast or even used on a larger scale than twitter, for example, in the media, one exposes oneself to a complete change in meaning, loss of its content, or the original transmitted information becomes outdated or even false. A new challenge in the face of disinformation.

“So imagine that the story of her influencer star Magali Berdakh with tendonitis was a tweet and not a video. With the Edit button, she clearly could change the meaning and make all the tweets condemning her words obsolete, ”compares Mathieu Flag. However, the virality of a tweet, which today is the video of Pope Shauna Event, is due to the absurdity of the line, which could be “You are a girl and you do not have shampoo? No, but hi what! from Nabilla.

“To limit the risk of drift, Twitter could eventually make this button only available to certified accounts or to those paying for a premium subscription,” suggests Mathieu Flag. Let the people who use it show their authority.” A way to find out who is behind each account by handing over personal information such as a name or bank details, as opposed to fake accounts, AI and bots, which Elon Musk’s claims in particular focus on.

Losing Twitter DNA?

But one question remains: even if this feature has been in demand for a long time, won’t Twitter make it lose its DNA? Because typos, unsolicited wording, errors are an integral part of this so peculiar social network. With the “Edit” button, no “kovfefe” Donald Trump. “This button is an Arlesian from Twitter. And finally, a typo in a tweet, it’s not so bad: it already happened to me when the message was retweeted 5000 times, Mathieu Flag again admits. It annoys me a little, I feel bad compared to others, it gives a neglected side. Even if most of the time only the author of the post realizes that he put -é- instead of -er-.

And if in the end the “Edit” button remains at the stage of experiments? “This may not be the first time on social media,” the analyst notes. So it was with fleets, stories on Twitter.” They did not last long: they have been available since November 2020, in August 2021 they were decommissioned. Because this communication tool, so precious to the Meta group, especially on Instagram, did not seduce the twittersphere at all. “Twitter remains a platform that can be adapted as you see fit,” concludes Mathieu Flag. Finally, following Elon Musk…

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