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Elon Musk Unveils Major Updates to X Platform's User Interface


Elon Musk has introduced a significant update to the X platform's user interface, which will soon hide most interaction buttons and actions from feeds. The only remaining visible button will be the view counter, introduced at Musk's request in December, and other interaction buttons will only become visible when a post is expanded.

This change is aimed at reducing user interactions with posts, similar to Instagram's 2019 experiment in which they hid like counts. Research has shown that this could result in a noticeable decrease in overall interactions for influencers, although there are no direct benchmarks to show how user behavior will change. It's expected that there will be similar effects on resharing activities, as peer actions often influence broader behaviors.

Likes and retweets are crucial for post visibility on X, according to its open-source algorithm, and this change may potentially harm many influencers who rely on high engagement to increase their advertising revenue.

Instagram has noted that people often use like counts to gauge popularity, and this aspect could be affected by their removal. X is known for its real-time interaction and trends, so this change is significant in that context.

The removal of quick-response options could lead to reduced usage since X has revealed that most of its activity comes from resharing and quoting. Consequently, this change might result in an overall decrease in platform activity.

Furthermore, this alteration may impact post sharing, with the potential reduction in emphasis on the share icon leading to less discussion and broader interaction.

However, this move could help combat the spread of fake news, as previous research has shown that easy resharing significantly amplifies false information. Currently, X sees 500 million daily shares, with 300 million of them in the form of reposts.

The benefits of this change also include a reduced focus on metrics, with more emphasis on post reach. It may encourage a greater focus on the content of the posts themselves.

X has also indicated its intention to introduce more gesture-based controls as alternatives to buttons, such as double-tap to like and swipe to reply.