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Strong feelings, as Twitter swaps stars for hearts

Microblogging platform switches from ‘favourite’ to ‘like’ system

Social Media, Web, Entertainment, Twitter Incorporation

Twitter has swapped its star icon, used to mark a tweet as "favourite", with a heart button, as the microblogging platform faces flagging user growth and a growing number of grumbling investors. But the move has drawn strong reaction from existing tweeters.

Recently appointed CEO Jack Dorsey is also CEO of Square, a digital payments company that is preparing for IPO. At a time when Twitter is struggling to attract new users to its platform, some analysts and investors are critical of the appointment of a chief executive with split focus.

The heart-shaped "like" button is the latest in a series of feature launches under Dorsey that includes a "buy now" button, allowing in-platform purchases, and a ranking mechanism for the best tweets and content. The "like" system follows Alphabet's YouTube, Facebook-owned Instagram and Facebook itself, in providing a uniform user experience.

"You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite," Twitter said in a blog yesterday. "We know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers."

But not all tweeters felt the same, leading to the creation of a #WeWantFavButtonBack hashtag. One user even went as far as to call the change "the worst product decision in the history of the Internet", while others accused Twitter of copying Facebook.