A week later, at another feedback review session, Elam told the group that a significant enough number of testers in Japan, Twitter’s other major market outside the US, also opposed the hidden like and RT counts, but for a different reason. Japan-based user researcher Kiyo Yamamuchi explained that some Japanese users actively avoid engaging with popular replies to avoid exposure that would attract attacks or abuse.
With the feedback in mind, Haider challenged the team “to think about that user need to understand which tweet is more important or worth my time, and see if there are other ways we can solve that, other than numbers.”
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, has been outspoken about removing engagement metrics, because of how they encourage users to be outrageous in order to rack up more likes, retweets, and followers, and prompt readers to look for them. In an August 2018 interview with the Washington Post, Dorsey said, “The most important thing that we can do is we look at the incentives that we’re building into our product. Because they do express a point of view of what we want people to do — and I don’t think they are correct anymore.”