Likes Are Now Private on X

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After announcing the coming change last month, X has now rolled out an update to make all Likes private in the app.

As X notes, you’ll still be able to see the posts that you’ve Liked in the app, but nobody else will, which X believes will give people more freedom to engage with more content in the app.

As X engineer Haofei Wang explained last month:

Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior. For example, many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be “edgy” in fear of retaliation from trolls, or to protect their public image. Soon you’ll be able to like without worrying who might see it.

So if you’re into “edgy” content, you can now like it on X, without any worry about people looking up your activity at a later stage. And that’ll also help to signal to the algorithm as to what you’re interested in, which will see more of that content displayed in your feed.

Which could point to another area of opportunity that X may or may not be exploring.

For a long time, basically forever, porn has played a significant role in X engagement, with the platform turning a blind eye to explicit content being uploaded to the app. X does have rules around the extent of what’s allowed, but essentially, porn has long been acceptable, even if that hasn’t always been clearly spelled out in X’s terms.

Which X rectified recently, by updating its policy on adult content, which now means that “consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior” is officially allowed in the app.

A possibility here is that X could be setting up another potential revenue pathway, in enabling adult content producers to monetize their uploads in the app, via OnlyFans-style subscriptions. X already drives a lot of traffic to OnlyFans from X profiles promoting their O.F. accounts, and maybe, by updating its rules, X will now be able to move to the next stage of facilitating its own adult creator partnerships, driving more usage and subscription intake.

Which is something that Twitter explored in the past, and maybe, hidden likes could also play a role in this, by enabling more users to engage with such posts, without fear of being exposed for their more private interests.

Or X is just convinced that more people will engage with more divisive and controversial content if they feel that they can do so without being judged.

I mean, as many people have pointed out, your Likes are not public on other platforms, so it does make sense that X moves into line in this context. But it also feels like X is trying to incentivize more questionable behavior, or exacerbate certain interests, by removing the potential for public accountability on such.

Yet, it also doesn’t seem like a major shift. But maybe, if it’s a precursor to something else…

Either way, Likes are now private on X.

You can tap that heart on anything you like, without any concern of it being held against you.