heart

Twitter's 'favorite' button is no more.

The company announced Tuesday -- via Twitter of course -- that the tiny star has been replaced with a red heart and a new feature name: likes.

It's the latest move to make Twitter more appealing to a wider audience. The "like" icon will roll out across Twitter's apps on the web, desktop, and mobile. It will also be the method to show your love on Vine, the company’s video-sharing service.

Twitter product manager Akarshan Kumar waxed poetic about the heart's symbolism in a blog post announcing the change.  "The heart," he wrote, "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."

Then he got down to earth. In Twitter's tests on the switch to a heart icon, he wrote, "we found that people loved it."

A Brief History of Social Media Icons

Favorites were first launched in 2006, not long after the debut of Twitter. Ironically the feature even predates Facebook's ubiquitous Like button.

Twitter had been testing the hearts with some beta users this summer, and according to reports they saw more use than the longstanding "favorites." With Twitter trying to bolster its user engagement to drive a much-needed increase in advertising revenue, it makes sense that the company made the switch.

Long-time Twitter fans may not approve though. But it's new users that Twitter is after, with returning CEO Jack Dorsey promising a series of "bold moves" to usher in additional converts to the social network. The company added 4 million net active users last quarter, so pushing that number higher will require other methods to make it appeal to a wider audience.

However, it's quite the change of tactics for a company with such a longstanding feature. It indicates that Twitter may have even more radical changes in the works as part of its revamp.

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  Title image by seyed mostafa zamani