While Twitter has yet to officially release its much-anticipated tweet editing feature, a lingering question has been how it will look when integrated into other sites. Would they dynamically change when edited on Twitter, or would they remain as they were when created? Or would Twitter introduce something radical alongside or instead of any of these options? Given how often tweets are embedded elsewhere, the answer to this question takes on almost philosophical dimensions.
Well, we now have an idea of what edited tweets might look like when a website embeds them, thanks to the app explorer Jane Manchun Wong.
According to screenshots it posted this week, the embedded tweets will have indicators indicating whether the author has edited the tweet after it was published by the site, keeping the original text intact.
Wong laid out some scenarios for how the embeds and the tweet editing feature will work with each other. The first scenario shows a website that embeds an already edited tweet with the timestamp of the last edit. The second scenario shows a tweet that has been edited after being embedded by the site. the original version will display a “There’s a new version of the tweet” label below the edited tweet with a link to redirect readers to the latest version — on Twitter itself.
Integrations are important because they give users the opportunity to interact with Twitter even if they are not registered on the site. Additionally, many news reports are based on tweets, and if the content represented in a tweet changes, it can affect the entire story. Twitter has struggled the formatting of the embedded tweets was removed after they are posted on a website. Earlier this year, it started showing an empty tweet embed box instead of a blockquote when an embedded tweet was removed. The company said this change was made to respect the author’s wish to be removed and is working to display a better message instead of an empty box for deleted tweets.
This would be useful for news sites, giving them a trail and a record of what an account or person originally said, even if the tweet is later edited.
Regardless of how embedded tweets may look, in another tweet-related finding, reverse engineer Nima Owji discovered that Twitter seems to be working on limited functionality for editing. In particular, you may only be able to edit a tweet within 30 minutes of its publication.
Earlier this year, Twitter confirmed it was working on an edit button to test with premium subscribers to its Twitter Blue service. But we haven’t heard about an official release date yet. The company raised the price of its paid plans last week, and many users said the price was too high for what Twitter offers, but if the much-requested, much-debated edit button makes it to the premium service, that could change their minds.
We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment and will update the story if we hear back.
While we wait for Twitter to release the edit button feature, code sleuth discoveries have given us some idea of how the feature might work. Back in April, engineers like Owji and Alessandro Paluzzi tweeted what an edit button on a tweet might look like.
Wong also highlighted Twitter’s approach at the time, noting that the company would not edit the original text of the tweet, instead creating a new identifier for the edited tweet and linking it to the original tweet.
In May, it made a note about the “There is a new version of this tweet” tag that is likely to appear next to the edited tweet once the feature is released.
Essentially, all of these discoveries signaled that Twitter is still working on the interface that will show users different versions of an edited tweet. This means we don’t know what it might look like in the final version.
Twitter is set to go to trial against Elon Musk over its acquisition dispute with the tycoon in October. A poll Musk created asking people what they thought of the edit button was one of his most notable Twitter trolls (he misspelled both ‘yes’ and ‘no’, ho ho ho!) when he was still in the honeymoon period of his acquisition.