Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), is introducing a significant change to its interface that will impact how users interact with the platform. In an effort to enhance user privacy, X has announced that likes will be private by default for all users, particularly benefiting those who subscribe to its premium service.

Elon Musk's X Makes Likes Private

Previously, likes on Twitter were publicly visible, allowing anyone to view the posts that a user had liked by visiting their profile. This feature often facilitated social engagement and content discovery but also raised privacy concerns among users who preferred to keep their interactions more discreet.

Under the new policy, the ‘Likes’ tab on a user’s profile will only be visible to the user themselves, and their timeline of likes will be hidden from the platform’s APIs. This means that while individual likes on posts will still be visible to the post owner, the overall record of what a user likes will be private. This change aligns X with other social media platforms like Bluesky and Threads, which have also implemented similar privacy features.

Musk’s decision to make likes private is part of a broader strategy to offer enhanced privacy features to premium subscribers. This follows the introduction of other features such as the ability to hide the verification mark, which previously indicated that a user had paid for a premium subscription. The goal is to offer more value and incentives for users to opt for the paid tier, thus driving up subscription revenues for the platform.

Critics and supporters alike have varied opinions on this move. Advocates argue that it provides a necessary layer of privacy in an era where digital footprints can be easily tracked and exploited. By making likes private, users may feel more comfortable engaging with content without worrying about judgment or exposure. This could potentially lead to more genuine interactions on the platform, as users might feel freer to like posts that they truly enjoy or support.

On the other hand, some critics argue that this shift could reduce transparency and diminish the social proof aspect of the platform, which relies on visible likes and retweets to signal the popularity and credibility of content. Public engagement metrics often help users identify trending topics and gauge public opinion, and their absence might make the platform less dynamic and engaging for some users.

Moreover, this change is part of Musk’s broader vision to transform X into a more user-centric platform. Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has been keen on rebranding and restructuring the platform to focus on privacy, free speech, and enhanced user control. This includes plans to remove retweet counts and like counts from feeds, further reducing the visible metrics that currently define much of social media interaction. 

While the feature is currently limited to premium users, it’s likely that X will monitor the feedback and usage patterns before considering a broader rollout. This approach allows the platform to fine-tune the feature and address any potential issues before it becomes a default setting for all users. 

In summary, X’s move to make likes private by default is a significant step towards enhancing user privacy on the platform. By shielding user interactions from public view, X aims to create a more comfortable and secure environment for its users, although it also faces challenges related to transparency and social engagement. As the platform continues to evolve under Musk’s leadership, these changes reflect a growing trend towards prioritizing user privacy in the social media landscape.