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X Likes Aren’t My Business: Elon Musk

X Likes Aren't My Business: Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s social networking platform, X, went private on Wednesday, following a report by The Verge on Tuesday that hinted at this move. Once reserved for Premium members, hidden likes are now available to all X users by default.

On Wednesday afternoon, a pop-up notification stating “Your Likes are now private” was sent to X users. “Liking more posts will make your ‘For You’ feed better,” the pop-up continued, adding that the feature will “better protect your privacy.”

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“Important to allow people to like posts without getting attacked for doing so,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday in response to a tweet on The Verge’s report.

It appears like Musk is restating the sentiments expressed by Haofei Wang, X’s director of engineering, who made the following statement last month: X is implementing private likes to promote “edgy” content without the risk of public scorn. According to X senior software engineer Enrique Barragan, who tweeted about a rollout happening today, you will still be able to view the number of likes your posts have received and who has liked them with this upgrade. On the other hand, he claims that you will not be able to view the “Liked” tabs or the users who liked another user’s article.

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Twitter Likes on the Chopping Block: Musk and Engagement in the Unknown

One way that Twitter has kept itself under check for a long time is through its public likes page. Nonetheless, X would benefit more without it, according to Musk and his new government. Liking content on X feeds the algorithm, allowing it to recommend more engaging material directly to users. This personalization increases the likelihood of users spending more time glued to the platform. While this kind of modification could increase X users’ engagement with material overall, the real question is: with what specific content is this change directing their increased engagement?

By default, likes still seemed to be available on X as of Tuesday afternoon. According to Musk’s Likes tab, he’s been fairly busy today responding to memes about the relationship between Apple and OpenAI, particularly those that focus on the supposed privacy concerns between the two companies (a narrative he’s pushing pretty hard himself).

In the past, Musk has expressed a more expansive goal of streamlining the X platform and making it easier to hide likes and posts throughout the timeline. The exact timing of this shift is unknown, but this is currently X’s overall trajectory.

We all remember when Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, liked a pornographic video on Twitter before he unliked it and accused an employee. Similarly, Samuel L. Jackson was once found to like pornographic content on Twitter; however, he quickly removed his likes in response to followers’ criticism. We may have just said goodbye to the Liked tab, an illustrious accountability system that served us well for many years.


X Likes Aren’t My Business: Elon Musk

Elon Musk has publicly stated his belief that likes are not a healthy metric for user engagement.

But won’t this hurt user engagement?

It’s a calculated risk. While likes can inform algorithms to recommend engaging content, Musk argues this can lead to an echo chamber or promote content based on popularity rather than true value.

So how will X recommend content now?

This remains to be seen. X might explore alternative metrics like content completion rates, comments, or even time spent reading articles.

About Emerson Hardy-Blue

Emerson Hardy-Blue is a prolific author specializing in the world of entrepreneurs and founders. With a deep passion for business and innovation, he delves into the journeys, challenges, and triumphs of visionary individuals. Emerson's writings provide invaluable insights and practical advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, offering a roadmap to success. Through his engaging storytelling and expertise, he inspires and empowers readers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams with confidence and determination.