Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said he would “soon” be doing away with the social platform’s “Like” feature. According to Fortune, the online news and social networking app said it does not have immediate plans to ax the button.
The Telegraph reported that Dorsey “admitted at a Twitter event” last week that the heart-shaped button would be removed in an attempt to “improve the quality of debate.” The button was introduced in 2015 and replaced the “Favorite” feature, which allowed users to star tweets to access later.
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
A spokesperson responded to the publication’s news article, tweeting, “As we’ve been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation, that included the like button.”
The company made it clear that they “are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”
Twitter has been repeatedly criticized for not doing more to stop the influx of hate speech, threats and trolls on its platform. The problematic behavior was highlighted after Rochelle Ritchie, a Democratic strategist, shared images of threats she received from Cesar Sayoc Jr., the man accused of sending package bombs to CNN and prominent Democrats, on Twitter that were initially waved off by the company.
Users had mixed reactions to the news. Several users said the removal of the feature would not solve the problem of harassment and could make it worse.
Eliminating the "like" button will absolutely, certainly, 100% make the troll problem here way worse. The most common interaction here is the "like," and it's friendly and affirming. In new Twitter, the most common interaction will be a hostile reply. Who the hell wants that?
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) October 29, 2018
"when we report someone for death or rape threats or hate speech, please remove them."
twitter: "remove the like button? it's done."
"no, just the shitty people–"
twitter: "your account has been suspended for violating the terms of service."
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) October 29, 2018
Us: Could you ban the Nazis?
Twitter: Favourites are likes now!
Us: How about just ban all the automated/troll accounts, that might help…
Twitter: Likes appear on your feed like retweets!
Us: Just enforce your existing rules! At all!
Twitter: We are listening. No more likes. https://t.co/OXKrnoi2b4
— Rith – 🐘: firstname.lastname@example.org (@Selenethoa) October 29, 2018