Social media giant X (formerly Twitter) is rolling out an update that hides the public display of likes on posts.

The company claims the move aims to protect users from potential backlash for liking controversial or “edgy” content.

X engineer Haofei Wang explained the rationale behind the change, stating: “Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior. Many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be ‘edgy’ in fear of retaliation from trolls or to protect their public image.”

Critics, however, argue that hiding likes could create a false sense of anonymity, emboldening users to engage with and amplify content that they might otherwise hesitate to publicly endorse. There are concerns that this could lead to a rise in hate speech, misinformation, and other forms of harmful content.

The change also raises questions about the potential impact on X’s algorithm. If users are more likely to like controversial posts when their likes are hidden, the algorithm may start to show them more of this type of content, potentially creating a feedback loop that reinforces and amplifies existing biases.

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