Twitter hearts: Likes take over from favourites as social network drops its beloved star symbol

The site said that the gold star — used as a way of expressing love for a tweet — could be confusing to new users

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 03 November 2015 15:59
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Twitter logo is displayed at the entrance of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco
Twitter logo is displayed at the entrance of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco

Twitter won’t let users “favourite” things any more — making them “like” things using “hearts” instead.

The site has used the favourite sign since not long after it was established, as a way of indicating when a tweet is especially good. But it has said that the symbol is confusing, and it will swap it for likes instead, in keeping with the same wording that Facebook famously uses.

Before, the site showed a little star shape next to the icons for retweet or reply, and it would be filled in gold when someone clicked it to favourite the tweet. But instead that will now be a red heart, and Twitter will refer to the tool as a like.

The button sits in the same place, under the tweet. But it now explodes with red, rather than filling up in gold.

It said that the star was one of those things that put off newcomers, because the gold star “could be confusing”.

“You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite,” Twitter wrote in its announcement.

“The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “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.”

Twitter has been introducing a range of new features in an attempt to make the service less confusing for new users. Its growth has been slowing massively in recent months and the site has been criticised for making the process of joining it too confusing and difficult.

The function will also be rolled out to Vine, Twitter’s app for looping, six-second videos. Previously that used a small smiley face, which didn’t have an official name.

Twitter Is Testing A Polling Feature for Its Website and Mobile Apps

The heart will start showing up in most of the official ways to see Twitter — Twitter for iOS and Android, twitter.com, TweetDeck, Twitter for Windows 10 and on Tweets across the Internet, as well as on the Vine Android app and website — from today. Vine on iOS and Twitter for Mac will get the hearts soon.

Twitter already uses hearts as a way of expressing joy in its livestreaming video app, Periscope. On there, people can press the screen as many times as they like to indicate that they like a video, and videos that are getting a high amount of engagement in that way will be promoted within the app.

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