When Twitter announced that they are planning to make some changes to how people use the site, almost everyone was concerned that the platform will not let them see the number of likes and retweets a post has. The panic started when some Twitter users assumed that Twitter will finally be doing what its CEO, Jack Dorsey, had been saying since October 2018 — the removal of likes.
The confusion prompted Twitter to respond via a series of tweets.
“Hi! We’ve been rolling out quite a few things this week, so understand how this could be confusing,” Twitter Comm tweeted. “Quick clarification: Yesterday, we started giving people access to our prototype app twttr which we’re using to test new ideas and get feedback. Putting likes and retweets behind a tap is just an idea to help make conversations easier to read.”
Twitter isn’t removing the like button or hiding engagement stats
It’s now clear that Twitter isn’t removing the like button, so everyone can relax. What’s happening is that:
- Twitter has developed a prototype app called “twttr.”
- Features are being tested on twttr, not on Twitter.
- Features that are tested include hiding engagement stats such as likes and retweets behind a tap.
- The like button is not removed.
On Twitter, everything remains the same, although there’s the new hide tweet feature I’m going to explain later. People can still see the number of likes and retweets a post has gotten, so they can still determine the popularity or unpopularity of a tweet in one glance. These stats are primarily used to determine the “Ratio,” so hiding them will not eraser this unofficial but famous Twitter rule.
The hiding of the likes and retweets are on twttr, along with a new thread-like appearance of conversations. Whether these changes will be rolled out to Twitter, only Dorsey and his team can tell.
Hide Tweet feature
Twitter’s effort to fight trolls and abuse on the platform has resulted in numerous tools and updates. In fact, the site revealed a new feature that allows users to hide replies to their tweets. If you don’t like someone’s reply to one of your tweets, you can simply hide it. The upside is that users will have more control of their feeds by hiding comments from trolls and abusers.
However, critics say that the feature can be used by public figures to stifle legitimate comments and reactions. Users can also use the feature to hide opinions they don’t agree with, which could significantly distort echo-chamber conversations on the platform.
Twitter users can still “unhide” the comments though, but they won’t see them at first glance, and important replies might be missed.
Yasmeen Haq, senior product manager at Twitter, implied in a tweet that the hide tweet feature is in response to the need of heavy tweeters to protect their conversations.
She also stated that they “think this can balance the product experience between the original Tweeter and the audience.”
All these new features and tools that Twitter have been testing and rolling out are all under the guise of fostering healthy conversations, although most Twitter users are critical. Some are even saying that it’s an act of censorship and limiting free speech.