X is hiding likes to encourage ‘edgy’ engagement

Illustration: The Verge

In yet another major shift, X, the social platform previously known as Twitter, is taking away the ability to see what posts other users have liked. It’s a change the company’s director of engineering, Haofei Wang, says is meant to protect users’ public image — because “many people feel discouraged” to like “edgy” content. MacRumors first reported that the change is coming after a flag was discovered in the iOS app that removes the Likes tab on all user profiles.
“Soon you’ll be able to like without worrying who might see it,” Wang says. It wasn’t initially clear if this would affect seeing who liked your own posts, but X senior software engineer Enrique Barragan chimed in to clarify:
– you will be able to see who liked your posts- you can see the like count for all posts / replies / etc- you cannot see the people who liked someone else’s post- you cannot see others “Liked” tab on their profile
The decision to make these changes comes after many high-profile users came under fire for liking various forms of NSFW or objectionable content. For instance, the official accounts of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming both liked pornographic content, while X Corp. CEO Elon Musk was found to like transphobic posts.
Musk has made many changes to Twitter since he took over, many based on what seem like whims, including the Premium subscription option that made hiding likes a paid feature. He’s also removed the ability to block users and stripped headlines out of news post previews.

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