Why Is Twitter Getting Rid Of The "Like" Button? Here's Why People Think The Platform Is About To Axe The Heart For Good — UPDATE
Be still our passive-aggressive millennial hearts, which rely on sub-liking more than they have ever relied on the art of a good subtweet; it turns out there's a chance that Twitter is getting rid of the "like" button. Per the Telegraph, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey mentioned at an event last week that not only is he "not a fan of the heart-shaped button," but that he had plans to get rid of it "soon". Cue the collective freakout of every serial liker around the world. (Bustle has reached out to Twitter for comment about the "like" button's removal, and will update this post upon response.)
UPDATE: Twitter responded to Bustle's request for comment by sending a link to a tweet from Twitter Comms that reads:
"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."
EARLIER: While Dorsey may not be a fan, people use "likes" for a lot of different reasons — to show support for something or someone, without blasting it to everyone on their timelines; to save tweets to look over for later; or even just to let your BFF know you're in solidarity with her when she tweets at an airline for losing her luggage (everyone's fave brand of Twitter rant). It seems, though, that Twitter has a backup plan in place for at least one of those functions, in the form of a "bookmark" feature that the company started testing earlier this year; per TechCrunch, the feature was first rumored in October 2017. It was eventually introduced earlier this year.
Unlike a "like," this bookmark functions much like Instagram's and Facebook's "save" feature; it allows you to collect tweets in a private place for your own perusal, without notifying the user whose tweet you've bookmarked, and without being made public to people who have access to your account.
In fact, you may have access to it without even realizing it. Twitter explained in a press release in February 2018, "To bookmark a Tweet, tap the share icon under the Tweet and select, 'Add Tweet to Bookmarks. To find it later, tap 'Bookmarks' from your profile icon menu. You can remove Tweets from your Bookmarks at any time."
But why get rid of the "like" button altogether? As Mashable points out, Dorsey said at the WIRED25 summit that took place earlier in October, "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 Telegraph further reported that Twitter wants to remove the "like" function to "improve the quality of debate".
This isn't the first time the button on a tweet has been a hot topic of discussion; you may recall that the little heart did not used to be a like, but that it originated as a star, giving you the option to "favorite" a tweet. That change was made in November 2015, and was similarly jarring to users at the time.
"We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and 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 favorite,” wrote Akarshan Kumar, a Twitter product manager, in a Twitter blog post announcing the shift. "The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And in our tests, we found that people loved it."
Three years later, it seems as though that same universal heart is about to get the axe; at the very least you'll still be able to bookmark tweets, even if the days of digitally high-fiving your mutuals with a like may be long gone.