X, formerly Twitter, begins rollout of “Private Likes” as default for everyone on the platform

In a move to enhance user privacy and encourage authentic engagement, X, formerly known as Twitter, is rolling out private likes for all users. This feature, previously available to X Premium subscribers, hides the identity of users who like a particular post, making the act of liking more personal and less subject to public scrutiny.The decision to make likes private by default was confirmed by X owner Elon Musk after a report from The Verge that the feature was quietly rolling out. Musk, in his post, emphasized the importance of allowing users to like posts without fear of “getting attacked for doing so.” This change reflects a broader shift in social media away from public like counts, as users increasingly seek more private and less performative online experiences.X’s director of engineering, Haofei Wang, previously explained that the change is aimed at protecting users’ public image and encouraging them to engage with a wider range of content, without fear of judgment or backlash. The company believes that by making likes private, users will feel more comfortable expressing themselves authentically and engaging with content that resonates with them personally.

Elon Musk confirms the rollout of private likes by default for everyone on the platform | Credit: Elon Musk (X)

While likes will be hidden from public view, users will still be able to see who liked their own posts and the total like count for all posts. This allows users to gauge the popularity of their content while maintaining the privacy of individual likes. The Likes tab on user profiles will be removed, further emphasizing the shift away from public like counts as a measure of social validation.

The change to private likes aligns with X’s broader efforts to prioritize user privacy and create a safer and more inclusive online environment. By removing the pressure to conform to public opinion and engage in performative liking, X hopes to foster more genuine interactions and encourage users to express themselves freely.

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