Twitter giveth, and Twitter taketh away. The social network today removed their star icon — meant to allow users to “favorite” a tweet — and replaced it with a heart, or what Twitter is calling a “like” (you’re probably familiar with the term since it’s typically attached to a thumbs-up on Facebook).
Perhaps not surprisingly, Twitter users have questioned the change, including some current and former Twitter employees.
I work at @twitter but even I can’t believe how we replaced a completely value-neutral term like “favorite” with something so loaded.
— Peter Seibel (@peterseibel) November 3, 2015
Sorry Twitter, but i used the "favorite" button in ways that did not always mean "like". So…now what?
— Vivian Schiller (@vivian) November 3, 2015
Sounds like twitter finally saw the
fault in our stars
— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) November 3, 2015
@twitter "lol nothing matters" button please.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) November 3, 2015
“Favorite” has been around since Twitter’s inception in 2006, so the social network’s update may upset longtime users. Why then did Twitter make the move? To retain and gain new users, wrote Akarshan Kumar, a product manager at Twitter. In a blog post today, Kumar wrote:
“We are changing our star icon for favorites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes. We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.”
Twitter-owned Periscope already uses the heart symbol. In an attempt to unify all platforms, the company has also rolled out heart “likes” to Vine users as well.