Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has users up in arms with his announcement that Twitter will soon be getting rid of the “like” button. According to The Telegraph, he is “not a fan of the heart-shaped button.” The reason why has people puzzled.
Dorsey stated earlier this month that he believed that the like button did not contribute to good conversations on the platform:
We have a big like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentivize healthy conversation?
The heart-shaped button has been around since 2015, replacing the previous star-shaped favorite button. There is no proposed replacement for the button, but rather, users would only be left with the option of using the bookmarking feature that Twitter introduced earlier this year.
Most Twitter users don’t seem to think that the change will have a positive effect, with many calling for Twitter to be more vigilant in policing extremists on the site instead of coming up with unhelpful solutions for conflict:
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
If the people in charge of Twitter actually used it, they'd know that "like" isn't just used to mean "I like this", it's used to signal "I've seen this", or "this conversation is over", or "thanks for the compliment", etc. I like WAY more than I tweet or retweet!
— HI IT'S ME RYAN (@ryanqnorth) October 29, 2018
Users: please stop the hate
Twitter: Okay, we’ll take away the “like” button
— Molly Jong☠️Fast (@MollyJongFast) October 29, 2018
While it is difficult to draw the line between free speech and offensive content, eliminating the like button doesn’t seem like an effective way to keep conversations civil on Twitter. Perhaps the backlash that Twitter is facing will cause them to reconsider.