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Twitter’s Coming Edit Option Looks Set to Have a Full, Publicly Viewable Edit History Element

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Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

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Tweet editing is coming, and over the last few days, we’ve gained some more insight into just how Twitter’s edit option will work, and how users will be able to track changes to ensure transparency in the process.

Which is an essential element. The reason that Twitter hasn’t implemented tweet editing in the past is because the brief nature of tweets theoretically leaves them more susceptible to subtle changes which could misconstrue the original message.

As explained by tech journalist Casey Newton:

The tweets-are-sacred crowd’s biggest fear, so far as I can tell, is that someone will use the editing feature maliciously to make those who liked or retweeted the original tweet look terrible. For example, a picture of an adorable puppy might be edited, after it has been retweeted thousands of times, to display a picture of something deeply offensive, such as the president of the United States.

Is that any more true of Twitter than it is of, say, Facebook, or Instagram? Probably not, but the viral sharing mechanics of Twitter, through the habitual usage of retweets, could arguably make this more of a concern in the app.

So if Twitter is going to implement tweet editing, there would ideally also be a publicly accessible log of changes, so that users can check in on what the original message was, which could lessen concerns on this element.

Which is what Twitter is working on – according to reverse engineering superstar Jane Manchun Wong, Twitter’s coming edit option will not update the original tweet, as such, but will instead create a new version of the tweet that would be inserted in its place.

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That would then enable Twitter to include an ‘Edit History’ log within each tweet.

So it looks like you will be able to access a full edit log for each tweet – which won’t eliminate the editing concern entirely (once people have re-tweeted something, they’re probably not going to go back and re-check it), but it could at least give people an out if they were criticized for re-tweeting a message that had later been changed to something else.

App research Nima Owji has also posted a video clip of the new Edit Tweet option in action.

Based on the advanced nature of the function in these examples, it does seem like we’re going to get tweet editing sooner rather than later – though I maintain that once it’s here, it won’t be everything that people have hoped for all these years.

Like, it’ll be handy, but once you have the option available, the novelty of it will wear off within a couple of days, and it will just become another thing, another tool to use in your tweet process. It won’t change the world, or even Twitter in any significant way.

But it could be good PR for the platform, and as it works to grow its user base, in line with its ambitious 2023 targets, it needs to do all that it can to win goodwill, while the complications of Elon Musk’s takeover push also feed into the public perception battle for the app.

Whether Musk’s bid is successful or not, tweet editing will be on the way. And in Musk’s vision of a new, ‘free speech’ aligned Twitter, it could become even more important – or harmful.

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Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem

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Shervin Hajipour's song "Baraye" draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life

Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –

David Vujanovic

Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.

The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.

Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.

It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.

“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.

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“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”

Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.

It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.

In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.

The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –

Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.

The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.

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She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.

Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.

“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.

“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.

“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.

“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.

In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.

Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.

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In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.

She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.

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