Twitter is sparking disgust among some users after the social networking site launched an experiment that broadcasts "favorited" posts much like the site disseminates retweets.
The favorites feature, represented by a star icon on tweets, was previously only treated as a bookmarking tool and a means to show approval of a post. Now, for the test subjects, content that has been marked favorite is shown on their feeds and the experiment has drawn the ire of a lot of Twitter users.
"I really hate the idea of @Twitter turning "Favorites" into retweets. I favorite stuff I want to read later, nice comments, etc. Dumb change," states Twitter user @getnickwright.
Twitter wouldn't reveal if it intended to expand the test beyond the limited number of users who have been initially involved in the test, but said it has been rare for a day to pass without Twitter running some form of experiment on the site. Twitter said it laid the foundation for rapid deployment of tests and indicated that its users should get used to the experimentation.
"We're able to run tests more frequently because we've built a more robust experimentation framework, which we use to run tests not only on the web, but also in our mobile apps: Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android," stated Twitter in a blog post. "With the majority of our users accessing Twitter from a mobile device, it's important for us to be able to test on mobile. Over time, you'll continue to see us test and introduce new features first on mobile."
Some of the features resulting from Twitter's testing helps promote site security, while other experiments are aimed at strengthening the engagement among users, according to Twitter. For at least one Twitter user, the site's latest experiment has actually caused him to disengage from the platform.
"Twitter turning "favorites" into "retweets" has actually brought down my engagement, because I don't want to flood other people's timelines," states @wesleyverhoeve.
But, as with almost any issue, there were likely some Twitter users who appreciated the possible long-term change to the favorites mechanic. Back in May of 2014, one Twitter user praised the value of favorites and may see in them the same quality Twitter does.
"You can learn a lot more about someone by reading their Favorites rather than Retweets," stated @Angela6714 in May of 2014.
Twitter's tweaks to favorites came shortly after the site launched a beta version of a new "cost-per-click" campaign for video advertisements. The campaign could bring more ad revenue to the site, though it'll assuredly add more ads to user feeds.