Twitter is reportedly planning to remove "likes" from the social media platform as its 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 it would be eliminated "soon" (via Variety). In a Tweet, the Twitter Communications team said it is "rethinking everything" about the platform to incentivize healthy conversation, neither confirming nor denying the rumor.
The removal of the like button is said to be aimed at improving the quality of debate on Twitter, preventing people from showing favoritism in a tweet thread by liking the comments they agree with. Everything else in terms of tweet interaction appears to be staying intact, however, so users can expect retweets and replies to look the same as they currently do if the like button disappears.
It has now been three years since Twitter first rebranded "stars" and "favorites" to "hearts" and "likes." At the time, the company said that the original star system was "confusing" for new users and that hearts would be more straightforward. Since then, Twitter has come under fire for its lax responses to certain user harassment claims and safety practices in its tweet threads, leading to privacy updates and reporting features.
More recently, the company confirmed that it will bring back the classic reverse chronological timeline as an option for users. Over the years, Twitter has introduced a curated timeline that mixes in ads, Tweets liked by friends, follower recommendations, and more, instead of the original and simple reverse chronological list of tweets. The return of the reverse chronological timeline will kick off as a test for some users this fall.