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Twitter experts test edit button that warns of possible misuse

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Twitter is finally testing one of its most requested features: the edit button.

The social media company announced Thursday that it is internally testing the ability for employees to edit tweets immediately after they are posted. This feature will be extended to subscribers of Twitter’s premium service called Twitter Blue this month., First in New Zealand, then in Australia, Canada and the United States.

It’s unclear when or if it will extend to Twitter’s remaining 230 million users.

Not everyone wants an edit button, and the feature has already caused a backlash. Some experts warned that the edit button could be used to spread misinformation or to edit an already widely shared tweet to change it to a different message.

Twitter said it will add labels to edited tweets that users can click to see the history of the tweet and its changes.

This feature has other limitations as well. Tweets can only be edited for the first 30 minutes after they are posted, and are labeled with an icon to let others know that the Tweet has changed.

“Like other new features, we intentionally test Tweet edits in small groups so that we can incorporate your feedback as we identify and resolve potential issues,” the company said. I am writing. blog post. “This includes how people abuse this feature. You can’t be too cautious.”

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Rachel Tobac, ethical hacker and CEO of SocialProof Security, gave a hypothetical example of how this feature could go wrong.

“Someone will tweet, ‘These two celebrities just started dating,'” she said. “It goes viral. After 15-20 minutes it breaks in and turns it into cryptocurrency scams, phishing her links and disinformation polls.”

This is especially dangerous on Twitter because of its influential audience and fast-moving dynamics, Tobac added, noting that fake tweets are known to move markets in minutes or seconds. did.

She said she appreciates Twitter’s efforts to build safeguards for its editing capabilities, but predicts the harm will outweigh the benefits.

“I don’t see the need to add another potential disinformation feature that could be exploited before the next election cycle.”

Tracy Chou, CEO and online harassment expert at tech start-up Block Party, shares concerns that people will abuse the editing feature, but the company’s response to previous implementations of the feature said he was cautiously optimistic about his approach.

Chou said that labeling a tweet as edited and showing an edit history is a “table stake” in responsible editing, and time limits on edits can be malicious after a tweet has already gone viral. said that it could help at least mitigate the possibility of it being changed.

She also said that restricting its use to paying users “is a good way to restrict usage to paying users. For real want. “

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twitter Confirmed This year, after billionaire Elon Musk, we’ve been working on the edit button since last year. tweeted a vote Ask if people want that feature. Over 73% of her respondents said yes.

Some accessibility advocates have also called for Twitter to allow text descriptions of images (called “alt text”) to be added to Tweets after posting. Technology that reads tweets with visual elements aloud will make it easier for blind people to understand.

Twitter spokesperson Shaokyi Amdo said adding alt text would require users to delete the image and re-upload it from the tweet, but the editing feature the company is testing will allow that. rice field. Amdo confirmed that the editing feature allows users to add or modify images and videos attached to Tweets in addition to text.

Suggestion that feature is delivered first Twitter’s Blue subscribers are on the rise as Twitter seeks ways to generate additional revenue at a time when digital advertising, which accounts for the majority of its revenue, is in decline. Twitter’s ad revenue growth stalled last quarter.

Twitter considered developing a feature that would allow creators of adult content to charge subscription fees on its platform, Twitter covered the costs, but halted the project amid concerns about exploitation of children.

Asked if the edit button will remain a paid Twitter Blue feature in the long term, Amdo didn’t give a direct answer, but understanding “what would happen if we gave it to everyone?” We mentioned that it is part of the point of testing in small groups. .

Twitter has had a difficult year both on the stock market and internally after Musk launched a $44 billion hostile takeover. He later filed to end the deal. Twitter and Musk are currently embroiled in lawsuits over the deal scheduled for trial in October.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that Peiter Zatko, the company’s former security chief, filed a whistleblower complaint with regulators, alleging the company’s lax security practices. Twitter denies this claim.

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