Twitter has done away with the “favorite” button in a move that signals yet more changes for the social network.
Twitter has steadily become more like Facebook over the last few years. It’s redesigned its profiles, emphasized photos, and removed the character limit from its direct messages. All of these changes make its service more welcoming to people who have only ever used Facebook as their primary social network.
With today’s update, whenever someone wants to indicate their approval of a decent tweet or Vine, they’ll be asked to “like” it instead of being given the option of clicking the “Favorite” button. The intent is the same — it’s just that the name for pressing that button, which is now a heart instead of a star, has received an update. (Basically, instead of seeing a star to favorite, you’ll now see a heart.)
Periscope users won’t notice a change. The live-streaming service has featured since its debut multi-colored hearts people send whenever they like what they see. Twitter believes that bringing these hearts to its other services (the main Twitter service and Vine) will make them easier for newcomers to understand.
“You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite,” Twitter’s Akarshan Kumar says in a blog post. “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’s reasoning might be a little dramatic, but being a global service requires Twitter to find a symbol that everyone can understand. And it doesn’t make sense for one Twitter app to feature hearts while the others have stars. But there might be another reason for this change: Being more like Facebook.
Changing the “favorite” to the “like” is another small way Facebook users could feel more welcome on Twitter. The language was confusing — a person really should only be able to have one “favorite” tweet at a time — and different from Facebook’s “like” merely for the sake of distancing Twitter from that service.
Will it mean much in the long run? Not really. People will complain about the change at first, then they’ll use it the same way they used the “favorite” button, and then a whole bunch of Twitter users will never know that button existed. But even this small of a change could make Twitter a little more approachable.
“We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use,” Kumar says in his post, “and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers.” Now that itty-bitty barrier to entry has been bulldozed over.