Will Twitter Eliminate 'Echo Chambers' That Stoke Hateful Views?

Is Twitter ditching its like button in the name of “healthier” conversations? CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly floated the idea at an event, last week.

Soon after, Twitter’s communication team said there were no imminent changes planned, but the company is in search of solutions to its negativity problem.

“As we’ve been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation [and] that includes the like button,” the team tweeted on Monday. “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”

Earlier this year, Dorsey toldThe Washington Post that Twitter was actively exploring ways to eliminate “echo chambers,” because he believes they’re bad for Twitter and society at large.

That’s because so-called echo chambers are thought to stifle creativity, breed ignorance, and, in more extreme cases, inspire hate and violence.     

Adding a degree of urgency to the issue, Dorsey’s most recently comments coincided with domestic terror and mass violence, in which Twitter is believed to have played some part.

Cesar Sayoc -- suspected of sending homemade bombs to Democratic leaders throughout the country -- was an avid Twitter user, for example.

While his life and social-media activity continue to be unearthed, it is clear Twitter helped Sayoc connect with like-minded ideologues who repeatedly reinforced each other’s most radical views.

Yet, few people seem to believe that simple fixes -- like nixing the like button -- will make Twitter a healthier community.

“Removing the ‘like’ button is a stupid idea,” one representative user tweeted on Monday. “There is no feature change that will improve the platform in a way that rids you of culpability in the hate speech allowed to flourish.”

Added another: “Removing a feature that helps us communicate better and build community would be going backward.”

We'll soon learn where Twitter stands.
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