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Twitter’s Testing a New ‘Undo’ Option for Sent Tweets

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The now legendary Jane Manchun Wong has done it again.

For years – basically for all of Twitter’s existence – Twitter users have called on the platform to add an ‘Edit’ option so that they can correct those annoying grammatical errors, which always seem to infiltrate your best tweets. Twitter has repeatedly said that it’s not going to happen, but there have been signs of a potential compromise, like, say, a short window of time after pressing ‘Tweet’ to recall your missive.

Now, that could be what Twitter’s developing – check out this example:

As you can see here, the new option would enable you to recall your tweet within a 5-second window, which could be enough time to quickly check over your witty observation and catch any clumsy errors before it’s unleashed.

The format here is likely not the final version – as several Twitter users have noted, the prompt obscures the tweet in question, which renders it somewhat ineffective. But once finalized, it could indeed be a good compromise. It won’t please all of those dedicated, and passionate, tweet editing advocates. But it’s something – and it could be a valuable option, in several ways.

The main usage here would be to catch errors, but an additional benefit could be that it enables users to also re-think their tweet before sending. Small elements of friction like this within the tweet process can often be enough to provide a moment of clarity, and may stop users from sending offensive or unintended comments as a result.

That’s what Twitter’s found with some of its other prompts, like its ‘read before retweeting’ pop-up, which Twitter says has lead to people opening articles 40% more often when displayed.

Twitter read before tweeting

That success has lead to Twitter adding other nudges in the process, like alerts on tweets that have been flagged for misinformation. Those extra prompts are easy to go through, so they don’t clog up the tweeting process, and negate engagement. But they do give users an extra moment of pause to consider their messaging.

But the main benefit will be grammatical mistakes. As noted, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey actually flagged this exact compromise back in 2019, in an interview with Joe Rogan.

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As per Dorsey:

The reason we don’t have edit in the first place is we were built on SMS, we were built on text messaging. Once you send a text, you can’t take it back. So when you send a tweet it goes to the world instantaneously. You can’t take it back. You could build it as such so maybe we introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending. And within that window, you can edit. The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it”.

Any longer than this, and Dorsey has always opposed the idea, but a small window of time to revise has been on the cards even as far back as 2016

It’s just never progressed into fleshed out option – and last year, Dorsey once again responded to the edit tweets question by alluding to this editing window, before finally saying: 

“But we’ll probably never do it”

That seemed to be the nail in the coffin – but like The Undertaker, it appears to be rising from the grave once again.

It’s not tweet editing, it’s not going to solve all your editing desires and ensure that you don’t end up with any errors in your tweets. But it could be a valuable addition, and given the advanced look of this prototype, it does seem to be on its way.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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