Twitter considering a tweet ‘clarifying’ function

Clarification hasn’t always been Twitter’s strong suit. Fittingly, there’s a bit of confusion around the longstanding suggestion that the service could add an “edit” button in order to save users from silly typos and, well, much, much worse.

At a Goldman Sachs event this week, Jack Dorsey clarified that, rather than adding a controversial edit function, Twitter might just let people “clarify” earlier statements. The feature, it seems, is less aimed at the typo part of the equation than the whole ongoing thing with people living to regret some horrible thing they said to the world years prior.

“The other thing that we’re seeing more broadly within the culture right now in this particular moment is people quote-unquote ‘being cancelled’ because of past things that they’ve said on Twitter or various other places in social media,” the executive said in quote reported by Recode. “There’s no credible way to kind of go back and clarify or even have a conversation to show the learning and the transition since.”

To clarify the clarification (which, one imagines, would get a slightly punchier name ahead of launch), the feature would essentially add a permanent addition to the original problematic tweet. The idea is to add context that would be lost in all of the retweeted screencaps that went out after the original was deleted.

Users then would only be able to retweet the clarification. Think of it like a quote retweet, albeit one that’s permanently attached. It could be an interesting feature for news outlets, not to mention all of the now-famous folk who might have tweeted something questionable back in the day. More so, certainly, than telling the world that you use the wrong “their” there.

As Dorsey notes, however, “Not saying that we are going to launch that but those are the sorts of questions we are going to ask.”

Thanks for the clarification.