A user found a pre-test version of the feature, which enables you to select from several symbols instead of only ‘liking’ a tweet.
A Twitter user with developer access found a potential new feature in the social media platform’s iOS app: the ability to select a range of emojis instead of just “liking” a tweet with a heart.
I can’t believe they’re finally letting me 💯 tweets (The best part is that it’s not even a joke, I just found this…) pic.twitter.com/cyJ6Lmfhgx
— Ninji, infamous dog (@_Ninji) November 16, 2015
The option is similar to Facebook Reactions, a way for Facebook users to react to posts other than the “like” button. Emojis are becoming a popular way to communicate online; Oxford Dictionaries named the “face with tears of joy” emoji its 2015 Word of the Year.
The feature isn’t even in its testing phase. The Twitter user who found it was using the app on a jailbroken iPhone—an unlocked device on which you can download non-Apple apps and files—which afforded a view of the work in progress. However, it is a sign that Twitter is striving to attract new people to its platform.
Verge editor Casey Newton explained how several emojis could help users select the right emotion to respond to a tweet, but it does seem to be a departure from other choices to make Twitter simpler for new users:
… For Twitter, expanded reactions could help users express themselves more easily and appropriately—one criticism of the introduction of hearts was that they could strike the wrong tone in cases where a tweet expressed something terrible or upsetting. On the other hand, new emoji add additional complexity to Twitter at a time when the company is striving to make itself simpler and more accessible to new users.
Veteran Twitter users did not respond well to the star-to-heart change.
Newton also contacted Twitter for a comment and tweeted its response:
I asked Twitter for comment about emoji reactions and this is their literal statement, in full: 🙊
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) November 16, 2015