Twitter has replaced the familiar star-shaped Favorite button with a heart-shaped button, and changed the name to a Like. Announced in a blog post, the change will spread across both Twitter and Vine, and has been introduced to avoid — in Twitter’s opinion — confusion the old star button caused among users. It says that while we can like lots of things, very few are actually our favorites.
— Twitter (@twitter) November 3, 2015
It adds that hearts can be used to convey a far wider range of emotions and messages, and its meaning is universal, making it easier for people to understand what the button means. It also claims the use of hearts has been very popular on Periscope, another reason for the change.
Twitter is keen to become more accessible, and less intimidating, to new users. Recent data shows growth has been slowing, and alterations like this — although relatively minor — may help reverse the trend.
Not everyone Likes the change
However, the move has frustrated many established Twitter users, mainly because of Twitter’s assumption the favorite star was used as a like button by everyone already. In fact, it had a variety of uses, which its ambiguous meaning helped drive. For example, due to Twitter’s usefulness as a news source, the favorite button could legitimately be used as a bookmark. A heart-shaped Like could convey a different message when used against certain things — a news story about a local crime, or a tragedy — due to the more obvious nature of its meaning.
The Like button will be familiar to Facebook users, but the social network has long struggled with a way for users to express other emotions, including a dislike. It has recently started testing a set of Reactions, where things other than Likes can be expressed. Twitter has put itself in a similar situation, with users only able to quickly show a single, positive emotion.
The alteration is live on Twitter’s web interface now, and should also be in place on the official Twitter apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10, along with TweetDeck. The change is coming soon on Twitter’s Mac client, and on the iOS Vine app.