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Likes Are Gone. X Is About to Get So Much Worse.

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Elon Musk's decision to make likes on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) anonymous. It argues that this move is not about protecting free expression, as Musk claims, but rather an attempt to obscure the platform's issues with spam, bots, and manipulation.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Embarrassing Reason Elon Musk Is Hiding Likes on X

1. What is the main reason Elon Musk is hiding likes on X, according to the article?

  • The article argues that the real reason Musk is hiding likes is to obscure the platform's issues with spam, bots, and manipulation, not to protect free expression as he claims.
  • Hiding who likes a post makes it easier to create an impression of widespread support for certain ideas or content, even if it's being driven by inauthentic accounts.
  • This allows Musk to cover up the deterioration of the user experience on X, which has been plagued by spam, bot activity, and a decline in high-quality advertisers.

2. How does the article compare X's approach to likes compared to other social media platforms?

  • Most social media platforms honor the social utility of likes, allowing users to see who has liked content.
  • In contrast, X's decision to make likes anonymous is unusual and goes against the norm of transparency around engagement metrics.
  • The article suggests this change is driven by Musk's desire to obscure the platform's issues, rather than any genuine concern for user experience.

3. What are the potential consequences of making likes anonymous on X, according to the article?

  • Hiding who likes posts makes it easier for bad actors to artificially inflate engagement and create an illusion of widespread support.
  • This could enable foreign influence campaigns, politicians/pundits to manufacture the appearance of popularity, and allow low-quality advertisers to boost their metrics.
  • The article argues this undermines the transparency and authenticity of the platform, making it harder for users to discern genuine engagement from manipulation.

[02] Elon Musk's History of Unfulfilled Ideas for X

1. What are some examples of Elon Musk's past unfulfilled ideas for X (Twitter)?

  • Nearly a year ago, Musk said he planned to eliminate the ability to block users, which would have made the platform even more of a "hellscape".
  • However, Musk has not actually implemented this change, and there's no guarantee it will stick if he does.

2. How does the article characterize Musk's track record of implementing platform changes?

  • The article states that Musk has a history of floating "edgy ideas" for X but either not implementing them or slow-walking their implementation.
  • This suggests a pattern of Musk making bold proclamations about changes, but then failing to follow through on them in practice.
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