Twitter just got a lot more emotional: The social network replaced users’ ability to mark tweets as “favorites” with the option to “like” tweets Tuesday. Simultaneously, it replaced the star icon for favorites with a heart for likes.
The company made the case for the change on its blog:
“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. The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones.”
The post added that hearts performed very well in user tests. However, not everyone is in love with these changes. The company said that it would introduce hearts in Vine as well.
Many existing users voiced their disapproval — where else — on Twitter, with some arguing that they had used “favorites” as an option to indicate all kinds of things, like the fact that they saw a tweet, or even as a bookmark-like reminder to revisit a link.
The changes even seem to be controversial within Twitter:
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
Twitter’s change from stars to hearts comes at a time when other social networks are starting to rethink user feedback. Facebook recently made waves by announcing that it would give users the ability to express a wider range of emotions instead of the simple “like” it had been using for years. One reason: Facebook wanted to make it easier to let users express sympathy in times of personal tragedy without having to resort to the “like.”