Mystery Move: Elon Musk Plans to Remove Key Engagement Metrics from X/Twitter Feed

Elon Musk, the owner of X/Twitter announced potential changes to his platform during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference on Wednesday. The most puzzling change Musk plans is to remove the count of likes and retweets a post has received from users’ feeds, a key metric used to determine the popularity and virality of a given tweet.

The Daily Mail reports that Elon Musk recently revealed that the company is planning to remove the visible display of like and repost counts on posts. This change would mean that while creators would still have access to their engagement metrics, the general public would no longer see the number of likes or reposts a particular post has received. The change would make it difficult for users to identify popular posts going viral, as well as controversial takes where the tweet has been “ratioed,” which means replies receiving more likes and retweets than the original post — considered a humiliation amongst X/Twitter users.

Elon Musk x / Twitter

An effigy of Elon Musk is seen on a mobile device with the X and Twitter lgoso in the background in this photo illustration on 23 July, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Musk’s rationale behind this potential change remains unclear, but it aligns with his broader vision of transforming X/Twitter into an “everything app” that encompasses not just social media but also banking and shopping functionalities. During the conference, Musk disclosed that the platform is a few months away from obtaining a money transmitter license in New York, a crucial step towards offering financial services on the platform.

Since acquiring Twitter in a $44 billion deal in October 2022 and rebranding it as X, Musk has been actively pursuing his ambition to turn the platform into a “super app” akin to China’s WeChat. The addition of financial services would be a significant step towards realizing this goal, allowing X/Twitter to compete with established players in the fintech industry like PayPal.

Engagement metrics, such as likes and reposts (previously known as retweets), have been a contentious issue for Musk since his acquisition of the platform. Last year, reports surfaced that Musk had allegedly pushed engineers to tweak the algorithm to boost his posts, leading to internal tensions and concerns over free speech and content moderation.

The potential removal of like and repost counts could be seen as a way to alleviate the intense focus on these metrics, which have often been criticized for fostering a culture of validating content based on popularity rather than substance. Despite this rationale, even Musk loyalists are questioning the wisdom of removing features that demonstrate engagement.

Read more at the Daily Mail here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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