X Launches 'Private Likes' Because This Will Allow People To Like Posts 'Without Getting Attacked'

X, like, unlike

On social media platforms, a 'Like' is a form of interaction, and it can mean a lot of things.

On X, a social media formerly known as Twitter, the Likes are represented by a heart icon. When users 'Likes' a post, the heart will change color, suggesting appreciation, agreement, or just a simple nod to acknowledging the content of the post.

Likes here, signal approval or interest.

Liking a post means that a user is telling the content creator that their post is worthy.

More or less, the hearts on X are indicators of user engagement and enjoyment.

But then comes the issue.

On social media, Likes can also increase visibility of a post.

Posts with more Likes tend to be more visible. This is because social media algorithms often boost content that receives a lot of engagement, including Likes, making it more likely to appear in other users' feeds.

Not only that, because Likes can also build community, and that can happen thanks to the interaction of people with the same idea or interest.

By having many people on the same place, can increase engagement, as discussion sparks between them.

And for influencers alike, Likes can also act like a social proof, and a gauge, which allow them to know what resonates with their audience. High Like counts can guide them into creating similar future posts and strategies.

In other words, Likes are like feedback mechanism, which serves as an immediate feedback to creators.

For influencers and brands, Likes can translate into monetary value.

And for the companies behind the social media platforms themselves, Likes can be used for data collection, including user preferences an behavior, which can then be used for targeted advertising, content recommendations, and improving user experience.

In essence, Likes are a multi-functional tool designed to enhance the social media experience by promoting interaction, providing feedback, and driving engagement.

They're a small but powerful feature that keeps the digital conversation lively and continuous.

It's only that some people perceive others who Liked something they don't like, as people need to be bullied.

And to counter this, X wants to start hiding Likes on post on the platform, in order to help users protect their public image, explained X's director of engineering Haofei Wang.

The idea is that, Liking a post can expose certain users into sorts of cyberbullying and hate from others. As a result of this, some users may be unwilling to Like certain content on the site over fear of retaliation.

"Public likes are incentivising the wrong behaviour. 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. Also a reminder that the more posts you like, the better your For you algorithm will become," explained Wang.

As for how this feature works, X's Senior Software Engineer Enrique Barragan clarified that users would still be able to see who Liked their posts and see Like counts, but will not be able to see the people who Liked another user’s post or other user’s liked tabs anymore.

Elon Musk has also confirmed this.

The billionaire, owner of X, said that making Likes private is "important to allow people to like posts without getting attacked for doing so."

Since Musk took over Twitter, and renamed it, he has loosened content moderation on the site and allowed more controversial material on the platform, and has even started allowing pornography.

This, in all, is part of his support of "absolute free speech."