Twitter hopes that its plans to remove the “like” button from its platform will help improve the quality of debates that occur on the popular social media platform.
The Telegraph reported that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey does not love the platform’s heart-shaped button that indicates a user “likes” a tweet. The heart has been around since 2015 when it replaced a star, which essentially allowed users to favorite or bookmark a tweet to come back to it later. Earlier this year, Twitter released a function that allows users to bookmark tweets without publically “liking” them.
At the WIRED25 summit earlier this month, Dorsey said, “We have a big like button with a heart on it, and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up,” Dorsey said. “Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentivize healthy conversation?”
Of course, Twitter users aren’t so sure that merely removing the heart will improve the quality of often heated tweeted debates. They had a lot to say.
Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group, tweeted, “Well that should do it for sure” with what seemed like a heavy dose of sarcasm. Meanwhile, Adam Parkhomenko suggested that Dorsey and Twitter had more urgent situations on which to focus. He tweeted, “Surely Jack has more important things get to get rid of first, like all the Kremlin accounts.”
Users: hey can you get rid of the Nazis please
Twitter: ok sure, we've changed the stars to hearts for likes
Users: no no, zero Nazis please
Twitter: yep we're getting rid of Vine
Users: nah hey, what about the Nazis
Twitter: ok ok fine, no more likes https://t.co/HKE0BrCiVU
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) October 29, 2018
Josh Butler, a DJ out of Manchester, England, took it a step further, and essentially accused the platform of being utterly deaf to the needs of users and the current political climate. Butler believes the platform needs to rid itself of Nazis instead of heart-shaped “like” buttons.
Meanwhile, Maya Kosoff, a tech contributor for Vanity Fair, urged a return to sanity for people tweeting about the removal of the button. She tweeted, “Hi everyone this story is based on one quote and PR appears to be mostly denying it. it is not worth getting fired up over I promise.”
Atlantic staff writer Taylor Lorenz added that she’s skeptical that company would entirely remove the “like” button completely. Katie Notopoulos of Buzz Feed also weighed in with a tweet explaining that she attended a meeting recently where Twitter actually showed off its upcoming new features to several reporters, and the removal of the button wasn’t among the plans.
Overall, the consensus among users who reacted to the news does not feel that such a change would improve discourse on the social media network. They would rather Twitter focus on things like removing bot and other accounts that go against the stated Terms Of Service.