The developer Jane Manchun Wong, a reverse engineer, explains that the Twitter’s edit feature appears to have an “immutable” quality, which implies that Twitter may create an entirely new tweet when one is edited, leaving previous versions of that tweet intact in some capacity hence leaving a digital trace of your tweet’s history.
The Twitter’s edit feature that might show the revisions in tweet’s history
Jane wrote; “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.” While, many researchers specializing in disinformation share the concern that an edit feature may be used by bad-faith actors that can cause confusion among good-faith users.
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
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 16, 2022
Many users and critics of Twitter’s edit feature have raised concerns over transparency. According to them, showing records of a tweet could avoid the inevitable backlash if and when a tweet is edited to fix public records or mislead an audience. However, there’s also a fair chance that Twitter could avoid providing a visible history of edits altogether. Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s head of consumer products, admits that ensuring the edit feature is used honestly may require “time limits, controls, and transparency about what has been edited.”
Jack Dorsey on Twitter’s edit button
In an interview with Wired in 2020, Jack said; “We started as an SMS, text message service. And as you all know, when you send a text, you can’t really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe, that feeling, in the early days.” He further mentioned that there are good reasons for editing tweets, he says, like fixing typos and broken links, but also malicious applications, like editing content to mislead people.