Twitter Might Let You Edit Tweets, Facebook Will Definitely Let You Watch Ads
by Rebecca Pahle | 11:46 am, December 17th, 2013
Attention, social media mavens: There’s a rumor that God will finally look down on you from His heavenly abode and give you the best gift that humanity could hope to receive, barring world peace and the end of hunger and things like that. Yes, you may be able to edit your tweets. Cue the choir of angels.
The Twitter report comes from Matthew Keys of The Desk. His source is anonymous Twitter employees, so as always, take it with a grain of salt. The rumor goes that for months now Twitter has been working on an edit feature that will allow users to make small changes—typo edits, adding or removing a word or two, that sort of thing—to their tweets within a limited amount of time (TBD) after the original posting. The tweet would then reportedly tweet itself on the feed of anyone who retweeted the original tweet in the first place. Tweet.
I’m excited about this because I occasionally make typos in my tweets—who doesn’t, amirite?—but, being an editor, it bugs the crap out of me that I can’t correct them. It’s like an itching under my skin that won’t go away.
But Twitter, if the reports are correct, actually has a more noble impetus for the rumored edit feature: Stopping the spread of misinformation by, for example, news organizations. Let’s take a jaunt back in time to 2011, when former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. NPR tweeted that she’d died, which wasn’t true. But at the time a ton of individual users, not to mention legit news sites and TV stations, retweeted it. If the edit feature existed back then, NPR could have added a “NOT” to the “killed” in their tweet.
What the edit feature will not be, at least according to The Desk’s report, is a way to change a tweet into something completely different and have it show up on the pages of people who thought they were retweeting something else. To that end Twitter’s working on a sophisticated-sounding “editorial algorithm” that (in theory) will be able to detect whether someone’s trying to alter the spirit of a tweet instead of just correcting something. That almost sounds too good to be true.
Keys’ sources say the algorithm should be finished in “weeks, or months at most.” Then the edit feature should be rolled out to the Chosen Few for testing—probably news organizations, celebs, important people like that. Not you or I, then. Unless you’re a celebrity. Hey, follow me on Twitter if you are.
It’s good that Twitter has recognized a flaw in how they run and has chosen to devote resources to fixing it. (Now if you could give users a better way to report abuse, that would be wonderful.) And then there’s Facebook. Which, as of Thursday, will embed video ads in its users’ feeds. We told you about the ads back when they were still a rumor. Basically they’re up to 15 seconds long, will appear in your feed whether you want them to or not, will run on computers and smartphones alike, and—for the cherry on the sundae—will autoplay. The sound, however, will be off. Small mercies, I guess? Mediaite notes that one of the first things that may show up on your feed is a “specially-produced trailer” for Divergent. It could be a video of Tom Hiddleston wearing a speedo and dancing the merengue*. I do not care.
Or, rather, I would not care… if I still used Facebook. Which I don’t. Suck it, Zuckerberg.
* I would absolutely look this up on YouTube later.