‘Twitter is removing the like button and it’s about time’

Here's why Junior News Editor Jenny Proudfoot thinks it's a good thing...

Today it was announced that Twitter was getting ready to remove its ‘like’ button – one of only three ways people can respond to posts (like, retweet and reply).

Why? To get the platform’s priorities straight, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announcing that his plans were to improve debate on Twitter.

‘As we’ve been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivising healthy conversation, that includes the like button,’ the Twitter communications team confirmed. ‘We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.’

Unsurprisingly, the announcement has been divisive, with a lot of Twitter users arguing that the removal is unnecessary, and even more suggesting that the platform’s time could have been better spent.

Why remove the ‘like’ button when you could spend that time removing hate speech and the abusive accounts out there?

While the statement rings true, I am actually behind Twitter’s removal of the ‘like’ button. In fact, in my opinion – the sooner the better.

Why? Because social media has become a popularity contest and we all need to stop looking for validation.

I am a London-based millennial journalist with a growing social media presence – in other words, all I think about is likes.

Every tweet, every Instagram post, every Insta story involves a long thought process – What time will be the most popular for posting? Which filter will people prefer? And what opinion should I raise to get me all the likes?

Our society is built on validation, and while social media used to be a place to inform and discuss, it has since become a ‘like for like’ marketplace to make us all feel powerful.

But power is knowledge, and if a lot of us are honest, we’ve lost ourselves, what we think, and what we believe, changing and shaping our opinions to get the most likes and be the most influential online.

So yes, removing the ‘like’ button might be problematic for some budding influencers hoping to make their money on avocado toast photographs, but it will mean that the people who are posting are not just posting for likes, and are tweeting with an actual purpose.

We can still post whatever we want to, it will just be for us rather than for the likes.

There’s no word yet as to when the change will be made, but if it starts better debates and improves the quality of what we’re talking about, I say ‘bring it on’.

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter at @MarieclaireUK

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