Twitter's shift from stars to hearts spikes use of button by six per cent

Looks like Twitter's jump from starred 'favourites' to heart-shaped 'likes' has paid off as use of the revised button has spiked by six per cent globally since the change was made last week, according to the company's senior vice-president of product.

The simple button change divided social media users when it was unveiled last week

Twitter changed its starred 'favourites' button to a heart-shaped 'likes' button last week. Despite initial outcry over the change, a Twitter employee confirmed that use of the button has spiked six per cent globally since the switch was made. (Richard Drew/Associated Press/Staff/Canadian Press)

Looks like Twitter's jump from starred "favourites" to heart-shaped "likes" has paid off. Kevin Weil, the company's senior vice-president of product, says that use of the revised button has spiked by six per cent globally since the change was made last week.

Weil made the announcement during a chat at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday.

"When you think about the size and the scale of Twitter, last week, there were a lot of favourites and moving that number by six per cent is huge," he said.

Though a seemingly simple change from star to heart, the shift proved rather divisive. Online reaction ranged from users who thought it was cute to flat out anger.

Twitter introduced the heart-shaped 'like' button last week, replacing the starred 'favourites' button. (Twitter)

While Twitter explained the reason for the change in a blog post, Weil gave a little more detail into why they did it.

"The heart is a very universal symbol. It's a much more inclusive symbol. You only have a few favourites. There are only a few things that are your favourites but you can like lots of things," he said.

"The word 'like' is a word that applies across cultures, across time zones. People just understand it better and so our intuition was that it would actually create more engagement across the platform."

He said the decision was not made "lightly" and that the company had been testing the revised button in different markets to ensure they were confident in making the switch.

Twitter has introduced several new features in the last few months, including "While you were away", which showcases relevant missed tweets since users last logged in as well as Moments, which organizes tweets by trending topics. So far, the feature is only available to users in the U.S., not in Canada.

The company launched a wide scale advertising campaign to promote Moments, marking its move towards growth with a wider audience.


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