Twitter users may see the app and platform's heart-shaped like button disappear at some point in the future but "not soon" according to recent reports citing tweets from the official communications team at the company and CEO Jack Dorsey. Ongoing consideration for its removal, the executive and team claim, is the result of the fact that the company views the button as the antithesis of incentivized healthy interactions and dialogue. For clarity, the button functions very similarly to Facebook's 'thumbs up' like button. In effect, it acknowledges a post for the poster while simultaneously showing others that there's a level of approval for the content in question. Users who 'like' a tweet are also notified of further activity around the post and can navigate back to it easily through their profile.
Background: Mr. Dorsey and others at Twitter have publicly mulled over the idea of removing the button altogether prior to the new reports as well. As noted by Twitter's communications team, Mr. Dorsey actually brought up the idea during his appearance before the US Congress back in September. That's because the move would fall directly in line with the company's previous and current efforts to increase overall engagement and transparency with regard to that engagement. In this case, the button was initially added as a star that served to act as a way to rediscover content and discussions later on. However, Twitter leadership doesn't see an intrinsic value being added to conversations by the button anymore. That mostly comes down to the fact that the now-heart-shaped tool has actually been taking the place of conversation for users, rather than being used how it was intended. In short, users are choosing to click 'like' instead of interacting.
Many Twitter users on mobile and on the web have expressed disdain at the idea that Twitter would remove the feature. Arguments for its continued existence range from its use as a way to express solidarity with users who are facing difficult circumstances to the positive impact seeing somebody like their posts can have on their day. Others indicate that they still use the button for its originally intended purposes. Regardless, the company has been discussing major changes for the platform with a specific focus on 'core aspects' such as the like button for several months. Other changes that have been up for consideration have included those that have already begun to appear like the addition of UI to differentiate political advertisements and offer insight into the sponsors behind a given ad. Deeper changes centered around how follower and following metrics are displayed, the labeling of known bot accounts, and similar aren't off of the table either.
Impact: Whether or not the like button goes away seems, at this point, to be more of a question of "when" than anything else but, as mentioned above, it's not something that's planned for the near future. In fact, the company's representatives say that there isn't even a timeline in place for the change at all. It isn't inconceivable that the social media giant is holding off until further changes can be identified that would supplement the lost functionality without enabling features that might deteriorate into a new way for users to avoid active engagement. For example, it may choose to bring back a bookmark-specific button that doesn't carry the same connotations as a "like" button. Bearing that in mind, there's been no indication of that yet and the company doesn't seem to be rushing any of its changes for the time being.