The Atlantic, quoting Ben Grosser, after news that Jack Dorsey is reevaluating whether Twitter should even have likes:
“Part of what’s happening in spread of disinformation is that people can essentially repeat what someone else said and spread it to the world, the retweet has an effect well beyond the Like in that regard,” he said. Grosser also indicated that removing just the like button would only make the retweet more powerful. “I fear that if they remove the Like button the fact that there are other indicators that include metrics will just compel users to use those other indicators,” Grosser said.
Removing likes and retweets is of course old news to anyone who has been on Micro.blog. I wrote 2 years ago about the potential harm of retweets. It’s a common theme in the talks I’ve given and in other blog posts since.
When I first started rolling out Micro.blog to early supporters, not having public likes, retweets, or follower counts was a kind of controversial, risky decision. Now it’s almost boring. We’re in the middle of 2 complementary transitions: a move away from massive social networks, and smaller platforms providing the flexibility to remove features and algorithms in service to the community.