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Elon Musk announces rollout of 'Private Likes' on X to protect user privacy

In a significant move aimed at enhancing user privacy, Elon Musk confirmed the rollout of a new feature on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that will hide all likes by default.

Elon Musk announces rollout of 'Private Likes' on X to protect user privacy snt
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First Published Jun 12, 2024, 11:04 AM IST

In a significant move aimed at enhancing user privacy, Elon Musk confirmed the rollout of a new feature on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that will hide all likes by default. The feature, dubbed "private likes," will be implemented from Wednesday onwards, transforming the way users interact with content on the platform.

This new functionality means that users' likes will no longer be visible to the public, allowing them to like posts without the fear of judgment or backlash.

"It is important to allow people to like posts without getting attacked for doing so," Musk stated, emphasizing the need for a more secure and private user experience on the platform.

Haofei Wang, X's Director of Engineering, had previously hinted at this change last month, explaining that the decision was driven by the desire to protect users' public image.

"Yeah, we are making likes private. Public likes are incentivising the wrong behaviour,” Wang had posted on X. He elaborated that many users are currently discouraged from liking content that might be considered controversial or "edgy" due to potential retaliation from trolls or concerns about their public image.

The introduction of private likes is intended to mitigate these concerns, enabling users to engage more freely with the content they enjoy. "Soon you'll be able to like without worrying who might see it. Also a reminder that the more posts you like, the better your ‘For you' algorithm will become," Wang added, highlighting the dual benefit of improved content recommendations and enhanced privacy.

According to the platform, while the author of a post will be notified of a like, it will remain invisible to all other users. Additionally, the concept of bookmarks, which are only visible to the user who bookmarks a post, might see further customizations based on user preferences.

This change marks a significant shift in the social media landscape, where public engagement metrics often drive user behavior. By making likes private, X aims to foster a more authentic and less pressured online environment, encouraging users to interact with content based on genuine interest rather than public perception.

As the new feature rolls out, users can expect a more personalized and secure experience on X, aligning with Musk's vision of creating a platform where users can express themselves freely without fear of repercussion.

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