Twitter Might Kill off Its ‘Like’ Button

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Twitter is reportedly thinking about killing off the Like button across its platform — though the change may not actually happen in the near future.

The Telegraph, citing comments last week from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, reported that the nixing of the heart-shaped icon would be happening “soon” in a bid to improve the “quality of debate” on the social media platform.

News of the potential change spread across the internet, eliciting backlash and generally negative responses from users. As The Verge points out, some users worried that arguments and retweets would be the only means of debate without the icon.

The social media platform, on the other hand, pushed back against claims that the change would be happening in the near future.

“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,” Twitter wrote in response. “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”

Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s VP of Communications, added that there’s “no timeline” and “it’s not happening ‘soon’” in a subsequent tweet.

To be clear, Dorsey himself isn’t necessarily a fan of the heart-shaped Like button. Back in August, the Twitter founder mused about the incentives built into the platform — and added that he doesn’t think they are “correct anymore.”

The Like button hasn’t been with Twitter from the start, either. The feature was first introduced in 2015 as a replacement for the star-shaped “Favorites” button. That icon functioned more as a bookmarking tool than a way to express appreciation for a tweet, however.

The Telegraph points out that many social psychologists have expressed concerns that Like features — staples of nearly every social media site out there — could encourage social media addiction by way of people seeking external validation.

Of course, even though Twitter is considering killing off the feature, there’s no set timeline (and the idea may not even be set in stone yet). It’s also probable that the social media giant would offer some sort of alternative in its place, rather than just leave a gap in its functionality.

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