Twitter Users Say They Want Edit Button, Pronouns, Disinformation Checks

What exactly do Twitter users want, and will they ever be satisfied?

It's difficult to tell if you read the responses to a question posed via tweet Monday by Michael Sayman, product lead at Twitter. While looking for input from different sources, his inquiry was simple: "What's the one feature you wish Twitter had?"

Sayman's tweet came on the heels of the announcement that billionaire Elon Musk became a shareholder after buying a $2.9 billion stake in the company. On Tuesday a regulatory filing confirmed that Musk would use his 9-plus percent stake to get his own spot on the company's board of directors.

Sayman was one of the Twitter higher-ups who reached out to welcome Musk, saying there were "fun times ahead" and inviting Musk to chat with him.

Over 18,000 users responded to Sayman's request. Arguably the most responded answer revolved around an edit button. Sayman was quick to point out that the company was already working on that feature, referring to an April 1 tweet. Some thought it was an April Fools' Day joke.

Even Musk himself tweeted a poll asking Twitter users if they wanted the feature, with over 73 percent of about 4 million respondents saying they did.

But the edit feature, which many have been clamoring for as years of typos and deleted tweets have reigned supreme, still has its opponents.

One user, Holly Smale, wondered whether editing tweets could lead to a "huge problem" due to users undoing statements or "gaslighting" others.

Dr. Leslie Carr said an edit button seems "problematic" due to the potential that a copious amount of users could technically "like" a post only for it to be edited at a later time or date—essentially adjusting the entire meaning of the original tweet.

Some suggested time windows available for edits, such as a 10-minute period where users could cite a spelling, grammatical or factual error and make desired changes. Otherwise, users would have to delete tweets in the same manner they do now.

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Twitter has made plenty of news this week, mostly due to Elon Musk. Recently, one programmer reached out to users for ways to better the platform. Denis Charlet/Getty Images

One user, Alex Harring, requested making pronouns "a part of the profile and not something that has to go in a bio." But as Bea Jaspert retorted, providing such an option "would exclude all those of us who object to pronouns (on the basis of not being believers in gender identity ideology)."

Disinformation also received plenty of attention, including a proper and more feasible channel to report it. Of course, some users took umbrage with those mentioning disinformation because that could effectively mean reporting or removing tweets based on personal preferences or on grounds of free speech.

A tweet by Max Kennerly, "liked" by nearly 11,000 users, mentioned the elimination of a feature rather than the addition of one.

"Locked accounts shouldn't be able to secretly quote-tweet accounts that don't follow them," Kennerly said. "It's constantly used to coordinate harassment. Either the QT should be visible to the person QT'd (so they can block) or the QT shouldn't be allowed at all."

Samantha Kutner tweeted a request for "a systematized way to identify the stalking, harassment, and intimidation of female researchers, journalists and those covering far right extremism either by individuals, or networks coordinating harm."

Her tweet was greeted with the response that all researchers and extremists, no matter the gender or political affiliation, should be identified.

Duncan Trussell had a unique request that gained some traction: "A way to temporarily unfollow everyone you follow and instantly follow everyone someone else is following just to see what their timeline looks like vs. yours."

Other suggestions included the removal of the "reply all" function as the default option; a replica of the Instagram feature that allows users to block users and all future accounts they may create; better fact-checking, notably for politicians or people in power; "fair moderation" that doesn't lead to undue bans for stating general or observable facts; assuring that banned accounts can't easily create workarounds; and improving the general Twitter timeline so people see fewer ads and more tweets from people they actually follow.