In a major feature redesign, Twitter has dumped the star icon for favourites in favour of “likes”, denoted by a heart icon. It has drawn sharp reactions from users, ranging from numbing disbelief to stinging sarcasm. The change has also been reflected on Vine.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced the change, claiming that a heart symbol can represent a lot of feelings. In a blog post, Akarshan Kumar, a Twitter product manager said, “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 wants to call the heart symbol as 'like'. Previously, the star icon was used to mark a tweet as 'favourite'. “The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And, in our tests, we found that people loved it,” Kumar said.
The heart icon was already present on Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app. It has now been introduced on Twitter and Vine as well. The company believes that it will bring about a sense of uniformity across all of its products. Users will be able to see the hearts in the Android and iOS apps – TweetDeck, Twitter for Windows 10, and the web interface. Vine’s Android app and the website also support the new icon. The feature will be rolled out soon on Vine for iOS, and Twitter for Mac.
Twitter users, however, haven’t taken the change too kindly. Most of the reactions revolve around the idea of Twitter tweaking a core feature to attract new users. Some have debated the aptness of “liking” a tweet that does not deal with something even remotely likeable. Twitter user @natebenson tweeted, “can journalists get a "save" button then? Looks bad if I'm "hearting" a fatal fire tweet from another reporter.” This is the very reason why Facebook has decided to introduce “Reactions”, thereby giving users more options to express how they feel.