X Ditching Another Old Twitter Feature by Removing Public Likes

Soon, you won't know who liked what.

Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has seen nearly every single thing about the social media platform changed or undone, from the platform's name, to the way verification works, and even the removal of options like video game console integration. Now the platform known as X will be making another change, this time to the way "likes" work. The platform will be abolishing public likes, making it so that no one can see the things that another poster likes. Haofei Wang, a senior engineering manager at X, confirmed that the change is currently in the works, while detailing the reason behind the decision. 

"Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior. For example, many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be 'edgy' in fear of retaliation from trolls, or to protect their public image," Wang posted on X. "Soon you'll be able to like without worrying who might see it. Also a reminder that the more posts you like, the better your For you algorithm will become." 

Why Taking Away Public Likes Hurts X

Basically, users will still be able to see who is liking their posts, and other users will still be able to see the number of likes on a given post. However, users won't be able to see who is liking someone else's posts. While it's easy to see how this could be a good thing, it can easily be weaponized by bad actors. When posts go viral, we won't have any way of knowing if the likes are legitimate, or if they're coming from fake accounts. The Elon Musk era of Twitter has seen a massive influx of spam bots, and those could easily be used to inflate the numbers for specific accounts, including politicians, advocacy groups, and more. 

Is X Still a Reliable Source of Information?

One of the biggest problems about X is that it's a far less reliable source of information than Twitter used to be. While the internet in general can be an echo chamber at times, at least in the old days of Twitter there was a sense that real people were the ones liking, responding, and retweeting information. The platform offered companies and users a chance to see what people were thinking, endorsing, and passionate about. That's changed quite a bit since the Musk takeover, and misinformation has spread more rapidly thanks to fake "verified" accounts, and the previously mentioned issue with spam bots. 

Following Wang's post, many users have suggested that there should instead be an option to turn off public likes, while others suggested alternatives, such as hiding likes from non-mutuals. However, it seems neither of those options is on the table. 

Do you think that this will be a good change for X? How do you feel about the platform lately? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp, on Bluesky at @Marcdachamp, or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!