Facebook will soon let you edit your posts and comments, but in my gut I don’t agree with this. It feels wrong.
You see, Facebook is special. Very special in fact. It isn’t just a website, it’s grown beyond that. It’s much more than just a fancy bulletin-board or a blog, or a big Twitter. It’s more than just a Social Graph connecting people and things together.
Facebook is the Social Continuum.
Like the space-time continuum, messing with the past can have dire consequences for the future. Changing an opinion you had months ago to make you look like a savant, for example, breaks Facebook; it stops being a record of things which have happened and becomes a fudgey mess of posts you can’t trust the authenticity of.
So what’s the fix? Sure, most people would love to be able to edit their posts, but you have to be careful about how to record this. People are already being put into prison for “things they said on Facebook”, so the fact you can now go back and edit posts means that it needs to be obvious what was changed, by whom and when.
Once a post has been edited, it must be possible to see the Edit History of the post – otherwise we’re in big trouble. Going-back-in-time-and-accidentally-sleeping-with-your-great-grandmother trouble.
Take heed, Mr Zuckerberg, don’t underestimate how important Facebook (and its future iterations) are to humanity. To freedom. To information. To the destruction of tyranny.