Twitter Data Chief Defends Decision to Switch Stars to Hearts

The word from Twitter is clear: hearts are better than stars.

Chris Moody, VP of data strategy at Twitter, explained at Variety’s Big Data Summit in Los Angeles Wednesday that the big switch the social-media giant made Tuesday — hotly debated across the Internet — was the right move because hearts drive “dramatically better” engagement levels than stars do.

Changes like that are necessary, he said, as Twitter seeks to jumpstart its monthly active users and broaden beyond the users that help put the company on the map. “What I think is happening in this debate is some of our core users don’t like change, and it’s a change,” Moody told Variety senior Silicon Valley correspondent Janko Roettgers in a wide-ranging Q&A at the event.

Moody elaborated on the important role Twitter plays in the entertainment business, providing insights on consumer behaviors and insights during a time of great change. He cited new products just announced at Twitter’s developer’s conference last month that demonstrate the company is behind a renewed push to leverage that data under new CEO Jack Dorsey.

“We are starting to expose a lot more of that data,” said Moody. “We’ve always known it was valuable but it was about prioritization and resources. we were finally able to get it pushed over the line.”

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