X owner Elon Musk is reportedly teasing the removal of "action buttons" on users' main timelines. Those buttons include the "reply" button, the classic "retweet" button, which was renamed to "repost" after Twitter's name was changed to X, as well as the heart-shaped "like" button.
According to the X News Daily account on the platform, Musk replied to a user in an exchange that was only visible to paid subscribers of both users.
source (Elon reply to a subscriber post)https://t.co/e1LqjH0NdV
— X News Daily (@xDaily) October 6, 2023
Musk's subscriber-only post reportedly read: "Those ugly URL cards with repetitive text were making my eyes bleed. So much better now! Next, we'll remove all the action buttons with their superfluous interaction counts from the main timeline. Just view count will show, unless you tap into a post. This will greatly improve readability."
According to the post, the apparent plan was to only remove the buttons from users' main feeds.
Users who subscribed to Musk in order to read his subscriber-only post reported that the post still wasn't visible, even after paying the $4 per month fee to access his subscriber content. Musk's reply appeared to only be visible to users who also subscribed to the user whom Musk was responding to. However, it was not possible to subscribe to that user without X identifying who it is.
Despite the somewhat inaccessible nature of Musk's post, X designer Andrea Conway, whose account was officially affiliated with the company, confirmed publicly in a post that the removal of the "action buttons" and analytics numbers from main timelines were both in the works.
"[Right now] the plan is to remove both, but to do more with gestural interactions (double tap to like + looking at some swipe to reply stuff now too)," Conway posted.
Conway's reply suggested that the buttons in users' main timelines would possibly be replaced with gestures.
One user responded to Conway, "Gestures don't work on web, full stop. Bad idea."
We reached out to Conway to ask about the discussed interface changes, including inquiring about how a non-touch screen, web-browser version of X would work. Would users need to click to open a post in order to see the "action buttons"? This story will be updated in the future if we receive further clarity.
We also contacted X via its press email address for comment but were only seconds later sent what appeared to be an automated response. It read, "Busy now, please check back later."