Twitter has gone through several stages of change regarding their “like” button. Initially called the “favorite” button, the feature was represented as a little star, and it was used as a placeholder for tweets you wanted to remember or links that you thought were worth your time. In 2015, the star icon changed to a heart and the word “favorite” was swapped for “like.”
Per The Telegraph, CEO Jack Dorsey said at a Twitter event recently that the company is considering getting rid of the “like” button entirely in order to “incentivize healthy conversation.” This made a lot of Twitter users angry.
As we’ve been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation, that includes the like button. We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now. https://t.co/k5uPe5j4CW
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) October 29, 2018
The “like” button is a simple feature, one of the few that Twitter has, allowing users to communicate with strangers in a way that’s less invasive than personally tweeting at them or sending a DM. It’s also a simple way of letting someone know that you enjoy their content.
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
When twitter removes the like button instead of the Nazi’s pic.twitter.com/UCNrkXu542
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) October 29, 2018
If Twitter removes the like feature can we have this instead? pic.twitter.com/TxnUpww1r0
— Gaymera (@NoJohnz) October 29, 2018
twitter: you can fave tweets!
us: cool that’s helpful
twitter: faves are likes now!
us: sounds weird but ok
twitter: some likes show up on everyone’s timeline!
us: wait no that’s bad
twitter: understood! likes are gone!
twitter: we love quality debate!
— moth dad (@innesmck) October 29, 2018
Why get rid of the LIKE button? Arguably one of the only pure expressions of positivity on this site is that button. Getting rid of it to improve debate is logic so cuckoo bananapants it’s like removing mailboxes to prevent propert crime.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) October 29, 2018
It’s funny that Twitter’s changes are always so inconsequential, such as expanding the character limit of Tweets and swapping out the word “favorite” for “like.” Helpful solutions such as preventing bugs, bullying, and the spread of hateful content are still not important enough, or are maybe too complicated and time consuming for the company.