This is what Twitter’s edit button, which is still under development, looks like

Twitter’s edit button has been a joke for longer than I can remember, though it’s finally becoming an official reality — and Jane Manchun Wong, who makes it her mission to find hidden functions in corporate code, just gave us our first real glimpse of what it might look like.

As you’d expect, the editing part is pretty simple: you press a button called “Edit Tweet” in the drop-down context menu, and then you can edit a tweet. Currently it looks like you have 30 minutes after posting a tweet to click this button. A window will pop up with all your original content in front of you, and you can post whatever you want – delete it all and start over if you want. It’s not just for typos.

The bigger question, of course, is what happens afterward — how can readers tell if you screwed up your tweets after the fact and what you screwed up? That’s pretty easy, too: there’s a small “Edited” button that appears next to the timestamp, and you can click that to go to an “Edit History” page, which should theoretically show all previous versions of that tweet.

(Ignore the “edit: soup” bit in the tweet above, Wong added that for dramatic effect.)

Important, as Wong mentioned a few weeks ago, Twitter seems to make every single tweet immutable — each version has its own ID, none of them are deleted, and it’s not clear if Twitter’s backend automatically pushes the latest version across the web. For example, if you read a edge Story with an old embed rewritten, are you seeing the new tweet now or the old one? Not clear!

But even if you look at the old, unedited version of the tweet, Twitter will point it out to you. See “There’s a new version of this tweet” below? Clicking on it should take you straight to the latest version.

Sum it up, and Wong tells me she believes so probably work like this:

Trump originally tweets “Covefe”, tweets get ID #1, people embed ID #1

then Trump creates a new edit “Coffee” the new edit (technically a new tweet) gets ID #2 while the original tweet (#1) becomes the first version of the tweet

and then the embedded tweet still pointing to #1 now shows the indicator “There is a new version of this tweet”.

To me that makes sense. And it sure sounds a lot like the solution that edge Contributing editor Casey Newton suggested in 2017:

I’m proposing an option in a Tweet’s drop-down menu with an inverted caret that reads “Edit Tweet”. Tap on it and you can correct any mistake and repost. The new version will be posted wherever the tweet exists on Twitter, including retweets and quote tweets. A prominent new word appears next to the tweet’s timestamp: “edited.” Tap the word and Twitter will display the previous versions of the tweet below the newest.

Except here it sounds like Edit History can be another side instead of rolling neatly underneath.

Keep in mind that Wong hasn’t been able to publish any finished, edited tweets to the actual backend of Twitter, hence these results very Careful. She tracked everything down by running the app client-side so she could see the UI in action. This is what Twitter’s edit button, which is still under development, looks like

Fry Electronics Team

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