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X is removing the Likes tab to promote user privacy

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X is eliminating public Likes from user profiles in response to concerns about user privacy and the fear of social repercussions for liking any content that may be considered controversial or edgy.

Earlier, X premium users could hide the Likes tab. Now, the functionality is being extended to all users. X offers several different types of content catering to the tastes of millions of users. Liking or reposting some of these may land you in trouble. For instance, Senator Jason Howell from Kentucky landed in trouble for ‘liking’ obscene materials on X.

Similarly, I’m a Celebrity’s producers apologised after liking an offensive social media post on X. These are just some examples of how liking a post on social media can affect your career prospects and public image.

X engineer Haofei confirmed the decision in a post on the platform, citing users’ hesitancy to engage with certain posts due to visibility concerns. Haofei stated, “People feel discouraged from liking content that might be edgy in fear of retaliation from trolls or to protect their public image.”

By removing the Likes tab, X aims to encourage users to express their interests without fear or judgement or backlash freely.

Also, X wants you to like as many posts as possible to further train the ‘For you’ algorithm that presents a curated list of posts based on user likes.

The current system allows anyone to view a user’s likes history by visiting their profile, raising privacy and discretion issues, especially for public figures with large followings.

It’s essential to note that while the public Likes tab is being removed, likes counts for posts on users’ timelines will remain visible. Users can still see who liked their posts, maintaining transparency in interactions within their content.

Although X’s intentions may be good, the same functionality could also be used for nefarious purposes. One can now like and train the algorithm to see illegal posts on X without worry. This can be a cause for concern, especially for teenagers and kids on the platform.

On May 3, 2024, X revised its blocking functionality to allow blocked users to view replies from those who have blocked them.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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