May 25, 2022

The Edit Tweet button isn’t the only new Twitter feature that could rewrite history. The company has apparently changed the way it handles embedded tweets that have since been removed, leaving web pages on the internet full of holes.

A previously deleted tweet embedded in a web page still displayed the text content of the tweet. Now that text has disappeared and only an empty field is displayed. Twitter replaces web pages with embedded tweets by hiding text with JavaScript, a variant used by many developers and open web advocates.

In a blog post, IndieWeb developer and former Google developer advisor Kevin Marks denounced the Twitter change, comparing it to “tampering with public records.” Marks cites former President Trump’s recently deleted tweets as an example of public interest content that should remain accessible, adding that Twitter’s new approach to embedded tweets that have been deleted is “alarming.”

IN tweet Twitter senior product manager Eleanor Harding responded to Marks’ concerns by saying that with this change, Twitter is “trying to show more respect when people choose to delete their tweets.” Harding said that deleted embedded tweets will soon display the message, rather than leaving a completely blank box like they do right now.

twitter embeds deleted tweets

Marks is not alone in his concern that a historical approach to old tweets will harm the network.

“Twitter only protects the privacy of those who choose to delete their tweets: they use JavaScript to retroactively hide quoted plain text in their embeds, even if it is still in HTML,” he said. Andy Bao, who created the virtual event platform Skeetish and was previously CTO of Kickstarter. “This is a major problem for the preservation of historical records.”

“…anyone who writes online could use a screenshot of a tweet or just quote the text, but was sure that if you delete the embedded tweet, the plain text will still remain. Twitter violated this agreement by changing this behavior. ,

Twitter announced on Tuesday that it will soon be testing editable tweets through its Twitter Blue premium subscription service. Between the embedded tweets and all that controversial news, the company is moving towards a philosophy that puts user intent first, over any concerns about historical content retention. But critics of the feature argue that giving users leeway to edit their tweets later could exacerbate some of the Twitter platform’s most common problems, including harassment and misinformation.

Much like the public’s perception of the once-legendary tweet edit button, people are likely to be divided over whether Twitter’s removal of bits from the Internet’s collective memory is the right move or a sinister move in the wrong direction. There is a natural tension between the spirit of the “right to be forgotten” movement, which aims to give people the ability to remove certain types of material about them from the Internet, and the researchers, developers, and other open information advocates building the Web. A document form is a document that needs to be constantly updated, but never completely changed.

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