Elon Musk has wasted no time clarifying his Twitter job priorities after becoming the largest shareholder yesterday. The CEO of Tesla has polled his 80 million followers about whether they want to be able to edit their tweets after they’ve posted them. Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal next quote-tweeted Musk’s poll to say, “The implications of this poll will be significant. Please vote carefully.” the phrasing reflects a similar tweet from Musk on free speech on March 25, days after he acquired nearly 10 percent of the company.
The so-called “edit button” is one of the most requested features of the social media platform. In an ideal world, users could just clean up typos after they’ve published their tweets, but critics argue that the feature could be ripe for abuse, allowing users to significantly change the meaning of tweets after they’ve been shared on the platform. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would “probably never” add an edit button in an interview in early 2020.
In his poll, Twitter user commented “Daily astronaut” suggested that the edit button is only available for a short time after the first tweet, and that edited tweets contain a link showing the edit made. In response, Musk said: “that sounds reasonable† Many other social media platforms already allow users to edit their posts, but as my colleague Casey Newton argued, none have widely abused this feature. Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth said Facebook had “dissolvedthe edit button issue in response to Musk’s poll.
The poll comes days after the official Twitter account said:we are working on an edit button”, but it made the statement on April 1 (the most dodgy day of the year). But this week Twitter Product lead Michael Sayman quote tweeted this apparent joke, calling it the company’s “official statement” about the feature.
Musk is technically a passive shareholder of Twitter. He disclosed his investment in a Schedule 13G filing, which is normally reserved for bets that: not have been acquired “for any purpose or effect to alter or affect the control of the issuer”, thus Bloomberg’s Matt Levine. But the Wall Street Journal reports that Musk’s application did not include the standard certification stating that he had no intention of influencing the company, and instead, Tesla’s CEO simply wrote “Not Applicable.”
Musk’s tweets don’t instruct Twitter to add an edit button, but his poll (which at the time of writing is 73.7 percent in favor with over 2 million votes added together) sends a pretty strong signal to Twitter. about whether to add one. “If the overwhelming majority vote for something, at least it’s *a* data point!” Musk wrote in a follow-up tweetbefore we give crypto bots the “the most annoying problem” on the platform.
Whatever Musk’s intentions are, the Twitter CEO is clearly paying attention.