Twitter (X) Introduces New Feature to Make Likes Private

Twitter, now known as X, has undergone numerous changes since Elon Musk took ownership. The latest significant update announced by Musk involves making the Likes section on user profiles private. This change aims to enhance user privacy and freedom on the platform.

Announcement of the Change

Elon Musk recently announced the introduction of this new feature, which will soon be implemented across the platform. Unlike many of Musk’s previous announcements that have been met with mixed reactions or delays, this update is expected to be rolled out promptly. Currently, X allows its premium subscribers to hide their likes, but the new update will remove this option for everyone, making all likes private by default.

Confirmation by X’s Engineering Director

Hufei Wang, the Director of Engineering at X, confirmed this new change. He stated, “Likes on X are being privatized.” This means that the ‘Likes’ tab on a user’s profile, which currently shows all the posts they have liked, will be removed. Users will no longer be able to see which posts others have liked by visiting their profiles.

Impact on User Experience

This change is designed to provide users with more freedom when interacting on the platform. By making likes private, users can engage with content without the fear of possible backlash for liking controversial posts. This could lead to a more genuine and less restrained use of the platform, as users will feel more comfortable expressing their preferences.

Explanation by Senior Software Engineer

Enrique Berragon, a Senior Software Engineer at X, elaborated on the practical aspects of the change. He assured users that despite this update, they would still be able to see who has liked their posts. The number of likes on posts and replies will remain visible. The key difference is that users will no longer be able to see who has liked posts by visiting other people’s profiles. This means that while personal interactions (like seeing who liked your own post) remain transparent, the overall visibility of like activity is reduced.

Benefits of Privatizing Likes

Privatizing likes is expected to have several benefits. First, it enhances user privacy by limiting the exposure of their engagement with content. This could encourage more open and diverse interactions, as users might feel less constrained by the potential judgment of others. Additionally, this change aims to create a more user-friendly algorithm by allowing users to interact freely without external pressures.

Hufei Wang noted, “Making Likes private will allow users to use X more freely and make the algorithm more user-friendly.” This statement underscores the intent behind the change: to foster a more positive and liberated user experience on the platform.

Protecting Users from Backlash

One of the primary motivations for this update is to protect users from the fear of backlash. In the current social media environment, users often face criticism or negative feedback for liking certain posts, especially those that are controversial or polarizing. By making likes private, X aims to shield users from such potential negative interactions, thereby promoting a healthier and more inclusive environment.

The decision to privatize likes on X marks a significant shift in how user interactions are managed on the platform. By removing the visibility of liked posts on user profiles, X aims to enhance privacy, encourage freer expression, and protect users from potential backlash. This update reflects a broader trend towards prioritizing user privacy and creating a more user-friendly social media environment.

As the rollout of this new feature approaches, users can look forward to a platform where they can engage more openly and comfortably. This change is a testament to X’s commitment to evolving its platform in ways that prioritize user experience and safety.