We previously wrote on how The Wire creator David Simon’s recent Twitter suspension is indicative of a larger trend of Twitter having its priorities all wrong. Instead of policing the platform’s thriving bounty of actual death threats and race- and gender-motivated harassment, CEO Jack Dorsey and his team are instead choosing to punish non-threatening insults and the mere mention of Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ finishing move.
It’s okay, though, because we might be getting that [Checks notes.] edit button we’ve all been yearning for. Kim Kardashian, who just did a good thing by convincing President Donald Trump to commute the absurd life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, is now using her celebrity in ways that are decidedly not good.
While an “edit” button sounds nice on its surface—who hasn’t knocked out a tweet with an embarrassing typo?—it opens the door for an entire litany of issues, not the least of which relates to our president’s obsession with using it to spread misinformation.
At the core of the argument against the edit button is that, should a tweet go viral—thus appearing on the timelines and in the “likes” section of anyone who’s engaged with it—the initial tweeter can subsequently revise it, thus making those who retweeted or liked it look as if they agreed with or found funny a statement entirely different from the one they initially responded to.
Sure, that can be funny.
It can also, however, be dangerous should a friend, colleague, or potential employer see a revised tweet on the person’s timeline.
Really, though, it just allows users the ability to plausibly deny hateful speech that they’ve put out into the world. It would also make the work of someone like CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, who’s helped eject a number of elected officials from office by unearthing hateful, violent rhetoric from their social media accounts, that much more difficult.
Granted, Kim may have been asking for Kanye. We know how much he likes to revise.