LOS ANGELES: Twitter is reportedly set to scrap its “like” feature, a move that would be intended to improve the overall quality of the interactions on the platform.
According to a report by the Telegraph, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told employees at an in-house event last week that he “was not a fan of the heart-shaped button” and that the social service would be eliminating it “soon”. Twitter, in a tweet Monday by its PR team responding to the Telegraph story, neither confirmed nor denied a plan to discontinue “likes”, saying only that it is “rethinking everything about the service” (including the “like” button).
“As we’ve been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivising healthy conversation, [and] that includes the like button,” the company said. “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.” In 2015, Twitter introduced the “like” option for tweets, signified with a heart icon, replacing what it had previously called “favourites”, which were designated with a star.
At the time, Twitter said, “we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite. The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones.” The possible elimination of the concept of “likes” on Twitter comes as the company has focused on improving the “health” of the service to block abusive users and behaviour.
Last week, Twitter reported a net loss of 9 million users in the third quarter of 2018, in part because of efforts to zap fake and/or spammy accounts. Specifically, Twitter called out – as a good thing – that it has seen a 20% quarter-over-quarter decrease in successful user-account signups since it rolled out new initiatives to reduce spammers, bots and other suspicious user accounts.
For Q3, the company exceeded Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings, turning in its fourth straight profitable quarter.
“We do see health [of the platform] as a growth vector over the long term,” Dorsey said on the company’s Oct 25 earnings call. Twitter is focusing on making the social network “more conversational, which is Twitter’s superpower”, he added.
Compared with “likes”, a far more requested feature from users has been the ability to edit tweets – something that’s been a hot-button topic virtually since Twitter’s inception. In the past, Dorsey has expressed receptivity to the idea. In December 2016, for example, the CEO said in a series of tweets that Twitter is “thinking a lot about” introducing editing functionality to tweets and said that “a form of edit is def[initely] needed.” – Variety/Reuters