Twitter is considering a feature that would allow users to add context and clarification to old tweets. At a Goldman Sachs event in San Francisco on Feb. 14, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained the function that would allow a conversation around controversial posts.
"The other thing that we’re seeing more broadly within the culture right now in this particular moment is people quote-unquote ‘being canceled’ because of past things that they’ve said on Twitter or various other places in social media,” Dorsey said, according to Recode. “There’s no credible way to kind of go back and clarify or even have a conversation to show the learning and the transition since.”
Dorsey was likely referring to Hollywood controversies around Kevin Hart and director James Gunn. Both were removed from high-profile gigs after their old tweets resurfaced: Hart backed out of an Oscars hosting gig after homophobic tweets were dug up, while Gunn was removed from directing the third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy after right-wing Twitter users found pedophilia jokes.
Of course, any user can comment on their old, troublesome tweets by simply tweeting more. The ability to quote-tweet yourself is a quick way to provide context to old posts. What Dorsey is envisioning, however, is an annotation that could not be separated from the original tweet, bringing the context along wherever it is shared.
“How do we enable people to quickly go back or to any tweet, whether it be years back or today, and show that original tweet—kind of like a quote retweet, a retweet with comment—and to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted or what they might have meant?" he said. "Like you wouldn’t be able to retweet the original tweet, for instance. You would just show the clarification, you would be able to retweet the clarification, so it always carries around with it that context. That’s one approach."
The feature could be used by reporters to clarify tweets that spread rapidly during breaking news situations, adding more information and correcting potential mistakes in real time. Dorsey gave no timeline for the project to roll out.