Twitter's edit button might not actually edit your tweets and could create new ones instead

Twitter (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Twitter has already confirmed that it is working on editable tweets.
  • A new report suggests that the tweets won't be edited, but rather a new tweet created.
  • Older versions of the tweet would remain available and be linked to the new one.

Twitter has already confirmed that it is — finally! — working on editable tweets. But a new report by one researcher suggests that the tweets won't actually be editable and that Twitter will just create a new one instead.

While people have been asking Twitter to let them fix their typos for years, that might not really be what the recently-announced edit button will do. According to researcher Jane Manchun Wong, it appears that Twitter plans to create a new tweet, with a new ID, whenever someone tries to edit an existing one. That old tweet will then be linked to via the new one, creating a thread of sorts.

Looks like Twitter's approach to Edit Tweet is immutable, as in, instead of mutating the Tweet text within the same Tweet (same ID), it re-creates a new Tweet with the amended content, along with the list of the old Tweets prior of that edit

This would, in theory, mean that publishers who embed tweets — like the one above — into their content won't need to worry about them being edited later. The tweet would remain as-is, with a subsequent edit being posted as an all-new tweet, complete with an original ID.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it already happened to some extent. Third-party developers have previously offered an edit button of sorts — a button that copied the content of an incorrect tweet and created a new one with it, ready to be edited. Once published, the original tweet would be deleted. The difference with Twitter's approach is that the original doesn't seem to be deleted but rather kept for posterity.

If that is indeed true, it won't actually be what people have been asking for. Tweets with typos will still be around, haunting them forever.

Of course, it's important to remember that Twitter itself hasn't confirmed this and it's likely that it could move away from this implementation before rolling editable tweets out. As ever, only time will tell.

For now, Twitterrific is one of the best iPhone apps for using Twitter and it already has its own edit button. Get it in the App Store now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.