Twitter Getting Rid of Likes? Not Anytime Soon
So, is Twitter really getting rid of its Like button? Maybe. Not really. Probably not at all.
According to a report from The Telegraph this week:
"[Twitter] founder Jack Dorsey last week admitted at a Twitter event that he was not a fan of the heart-shaped button and that it would be getting rid of it “soon”.
That sent users into a frenzy, much like when Twitter announced that it would be implementing an algorithm-defined timeline - Twitter's 'Like' heart, formerly a star icon, has become a key element of the service, a quick and easy way to endorse what another user has shared, without having to write a full response, or indeed, give it an even more supportive re-tweet.
As the Telegraph story circulated quickly through the Twitter-sphere, several people sought clarification from Twitter itself, as to when and how Twitter might implement such a change.
The short answer is that no update, of any kind, is imminent at this stage.
As we've been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation, that includes the like button. We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now. https://t.co/k5uPe5j4CW— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) October 29, 2018
The issue with the Like button, and any social sharing and/or endorsement option, is that it can become an addictive element, an unhealthy form of outside validation which can drive compulsive behavior. A stronger argument could actually be made for the removal of the re-tweet option, with the widespread sharing of misinformation leading to broader negative outcomes in many respects. If users were not so readily able to distribute such content, would we see such proliferate so quickly?
Certainly, there's a case to be made for the removal of either or both options, and on Likes specifically, Dorsey has noted his concerns about the feature before (to US Congress earlier his year). This is not a new consideration, but Twitter isn't planning to implement such a change in the immediate future.
That's not to say it won't ever happen, it's just not as close as The Telegraph's report suggests. Certainly, Twitter may be looking into it, but no, according to all clarifications provided by Twitter, it's not high on their agenda at the moment.
Likes on tweets will be around for at least some time yet.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter