Done playing 'Favorites,' Twitter debuts 'Likes'

New designation is meant to be less exclusive, encouraging greater interaction

Twitter’s parade of new engagement tools marched onward Tuesday with the introduction of a "Like" button, a heart-shaped icon that replaces the "Favorite" star.

Replacing the star with a heart — which is nearly identical to Instagram’s own Like button — is intended to clarify the button’s function, which remains the same. (Pushing it sends the Tweet’s author a notification that you have "liked" his or her post, and saves a copy of it to your own account.)

Some users apparently found the star icon and "Favorite" designation confusing, according to a blog post from Twitter product manager Akarshan Kumar.

"You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite," he wrote. 

"The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones," the post continued. "The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people."

Though the shift appears to be geared more toward users than advertisers, the change could result in slightly higher brand engagement if users no longer feel restricted by the "Favorites" designation, said Fernanda Suarez, social marketing manager at Huge.

"Favoriting several things at once diminishes the concept of loyalty because it shows that you don't like other content as much," Suarez said. "Likes, on the other hand, can be more genuinely and widely distributed without dismissing other content."

The new Likes feature will be integrated into Twitter-owned Periscope and Vine, and will be seen on Twitter for iOS, Android, TweetDeck, Twitter for Windows 10 and 

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