Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at a Twitter event last week that the final day of the heart-shaped “like” button could be arriving.
According to The Telegraph, it’s wasn’t the first time he admitted that he doesn’t want it anymore — he talked about his frustration with the button weeks ago at the Wired25 summit.
“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,” Dorsey said at the event.
In a tweet on Monday, Twitter responded to The Telegraph’s story that they were “rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation, that includes the like button.”
Twitter has long been accused of fostering hate crimes by failing to curb violent and extreme content, as well as creating a space for Russian bots to swing public opinion. So when the rumour of cancelling the button comes, Twitter users have mixed feelings.
Some think they will be losing an important metric to demonstrate public support, some think that the platform’s biggest feature of being a civil place for debates will be cut short, and some think Twitter’s simply failing, again, to take care of the public’s concerns on hate crimes.
“Really though, if you had to ask any average user what were the main things leading to a bad “quality of debate” on this bad website, the tiny little heart symbols would not exactly be at the top of most people’s lists” – Josh Butler.
It’s uncertain, though, when this thought of the CEO will be executed. Following Telegraph’s report, Twitter’s Communications team tweeted that “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”
Taylor Lorenz wrote in The Atlantic that, instead of getting rid of like button, retweet should be their target.
Retweets, not likes, are Twitter’s most powerful method of reward,” wrote Lorenz. “The quest to accrue retweets regularly drives users to tweet outlandish comments, extremist opinions, fake news, or worse. If Twitter really wants to control the out-of-control rewards mechanisms it has created, the retweet button should be the first to go.