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X Makes User Likes Private Will It Backfire

X Makes User Likes Private, Will It Backfire?

X Makes User Likes Private, Will It Backfire?X Makes User Likes Private, Will It Backfire?
X makes user likes private

Published on: June 12, 2024

  • X, formerly Twitter, will make likes private for all users by default to encourage more genuine engagement without fear of public scrutiny
  • The decision has received mixed reactions, with some users welcoming increased privacy and others missing the transparency of public likes that helped gauge content authenticity​
  • X is committed to enhancing user privacy and fostering a healthier online environment but may re-evaluate the system if it faces significant user resistance or fails to meet its goals​ 

Content

In a significant update, X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced that it will make likes private for all users by default. This move marks a notable shift in the platform's functionality and aims to encourage more engagement without the pressure of public scrutiny.

The Idea Behind It

Haofei Wang, X's Director of Engineering, explained that public likes have been incentivizing undesirable behavior, such as users avoiding liking content deemed "edgy" out of fear of retaliation or damage to their public image​. By making likes private, X hopes to foster an environment where users feel more comfortable engaging with a broader range of content without worrying about judgment or trolling.

How It Works

Under the new system, users will still be able to see who liked their posts, and the total like count on posts and replies will remain visible. However, users will no longer be able to see which posts others have liked, and the Likes tab will be removed from public profiles​. 

Impact on Users & Reactions

The decision to make likes private has garnered mixed reactions from X's user base. Some users welcome the increased privacy and the freedom to engage with content without fear of backlash. Others, however, miss the transparency that public likes provided, which allowed them to discover new content based on other people’s likes. Additionally, in light of the widespread misinformation on X, users often relied on the “liked” tab to gauge the authenticity of the content. Many argue that making likes private could hinder the ability to discern genuine information, marking a step backward in maintaining transparency.

This change also impacts X Premium subscribers, who previously had the option to hide their likes as part of the paid service. Now, this feature will be available to all users by default, which may reduce the perceived value of the premium subscription​.

Future Prospects

As with any significant platform change, there is potential for re-evaluation. If the new system does not meet its intended goals or faces substantial user resistance, X may reconsider their approach. However, the current plan underscores a strong commitment to enhancing user privacy and promoting more genuine interactions on the platform​.

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