Twitter wants users to show their appreciation for tweets more often, so today it replaced the "favorite" button with a "like" button in the shape of a heart. The San Francisco company said it thought the old button—which appeared as a star icon—was too confusing.
Regular social media users will recognize the like as a Facebook move and the heart symbol as the way to show appreciation on Instagram. So when Twitter's product manager Akarshan Kumar wrote that "we'll be calling them likes" in his blog post without acknowledging the term exists elsewhere on the Web, we can probably assume it was done with at least a little tongue-in-cheek humor in mind. (Otherwise, it's akin to someone saying, "I am a fan of this band. You may have heard of them—they're called the Rolling Stones.")
But to be fair, social media platforms effectively copy one another quite often. For instance, Facebook mimicked Twitter in early 2014 by creating a Trending section on its platform. More recently, Facebook debuted Place Tips, which some saw was an answer to Snapchat's Live Stories.
Kumar said that in Twitter's tests, "we found that people loved it," adding that the heart icon/like button proved popular on his company's livestreaming app, Periscope, as well. "We're delighted to bring them to Twitter and Vine, making them the common language for our global community," he said.
Meanwhile, brand marketers will likely look at their tweets' data today with a higher sense of interest than usual to see if the new button creates more engagement.
Reactions in the Twittersphere were mixed and seemingly skewed toward negative sentiments. Hey, change is never easy.
Here is a handful of examples:
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) November 3, 2015
Dear @Twitter: Stop tryna be Facebook. No one likes Facebook. Kthnx
— Spynx (@Spynxie) November 3, 2015
at least twitter is doing bold stuff, not afraid to upset whiny core users. that's what worked for Facebook
— Erin Griffith (@eringriffith) November 3, 2015
Twitter has just changed favourites to likes?! No this is just wrong. Abort. Abort.
— Chelsie Angeles (@ChelsieAngeles) November 3, 2015
TWITTER CHANGED FAVORITES TO LIKES?!
— mr.virtue (@venessa_chun) November 3, 2015