Elon Musk’s X will soon remove public likes

Elon Musk’s X will soon remove public likes

X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is preparing for yet another change under its owner Elon Musk that seemingly no user has asked for.

According to X’s Director of Engineering Haofei Wang, Musk’s social media platform is preparing to remove public “likes” from users’ profile page. This means that X users will no longer be able to browse what posts other users have liked.

“Yeah, we are making likes private,” Wang said on X in response to a post by MacRumors researcher Aaron Perris.

Perris shared a post on Tuesday concerning a new flag he discovered in the X app for iOS, which completely turned off the likes tab on every X users’ public profile when turned on.

As X users speculated on the platform about what this discovery could mean, X’s Director of Engineering decided to weigh in.

“Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior,” Wang wrote. “For example, many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be ‘edgy’ in fear of retaliation from trolls, or to protect their public image.”

“Soon you’ll be able to like without worrying who might see it,” he continued, while also adding that the more posts users like, the better the For You algorithm will get at recommending content.

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Who will be able to see likes on X

Wang’s announcement about the removal of public likes on X left more questions than answers. X Senior Software Engineer Enrique Barragan stepped in with a post of his own in order to try and clear up exactly what is happening to likes.

According to Barragan, once all likes on X go private, users will still be able to see who liked their own posts. Also, and perhaps most important to X users, the like count or number of likes on posts and replies will still be public for all.

Basically, the change is that users won’t be able to see who liked other users’ posts, and there will no longer be a tab on a users’ profile showcasing all the posts that user has liked.

What does this mean for X

Typically, Mashable doesn’t cover every change or new feature headed to X until it’s actually rolled out. X owner Elon Musk has a habit of talking about things he’d like to do but not delivering. Musk’s changes to X that do end up rolling out often end with Musk backtracking and re-implementing the previous way X worked.


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However, this change to X is being discussed by its director of engineering after code was discovered showing that they are ready to launch it. It’s very likely that public likes will actually be removed from X soon (There’s always the possibility of an eventual backtrack from Musk after the fact, of course.)

X already allowed paying X Premium subscribers to hide their likes tab on their profile. But, now it appears the platform is removing any option to share your likes to the public.

By leaving the like count, but taking away the public display of that count, it’s unlikely that X is implementing this change due to studies suggesting that mental health issues are associated with social media engagement numbers. The point of removing public accounts is exactly what Wang said in his post: To remove any potential consequences for the user based on “edgy” posts they like.

Musk himself, knows about blowback from liking “edgy” posts as he’s hit the like button for a number of posts by far right accounts over the past few years, and then received criticism. Now, once the change is implemented, Musk and others who like similar content will be able to do so without the public’s knowledge.


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