Hidden Twitter Emoji Revealed While Using Social Media iPhone App

John Houck

Emojis may soon be showing up throughout your Twitter feed. It appears that the social media network is quietly testing emoji-based reactions to tweets.

Hidden in a developer build of Twitter's iPhone app, user @_Ninja spotted the ability to choose from a small range of emoji.

When The Verge asked Twitter directly if they were experimenting with emoji reactions, their response was a monkey icon with hands over its mouth. This has many speculating what the answer really means.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the current "like" button is too limiting and inadequate to appropriately express emotion. Facebook believes the time has come for new reaction emojis that will enhance and improve the way people respond to each other.

Facebook has been careful lately about its emotion icons. In a previous Inquisitr report, Facebook renamed the "feeling fat" emoji to "feeling stuffed" earlier this year. After over 16,000 people signed a petition saying "fat" isn't a feeling, Facebook made the change.

Twitter has made some changes as well, but this one was not influenced specifically by users. As reported by The Verge, Twitter recently removed the yellow star "favorite" button and replaced it with a red heart "like" icon.

The move by the social media giant was to simplify user experience and make the service more attractive. The new "like" button is represented as a red heart icon in Twitter apps.

Initially, the favorite button was used as a way to bookmark tweets. However, the button proved mostly impractical for a service that limited messages to 140 characters. That was until third party developers like Favrd, invented ways to make the button useful.

Later, as hashtags evolved and retweets started going viral, the once useless feature became an influential, multi-purpose tool. Now, the red heart is the Twitter standard icon of approval.

Akarshan Kumar, a product manager at Twitter, explained the change.

"The heart, in contrast, 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."

Emojis go all the way back to the 1990's when Japanese cell phone makers put the icons into texting apps. The idea caught on and it would be hard now to imagine a text message or Twitter post without them.

This has been a good year for emojis. Even Oxford Dictionaries has embraced the idea, making the symbol for "face with tears of joy" its Word of the Year for 2015.

If and when Twitter adds the reaction emoji option for everyone, it will have finally caught the growing trend of using emotion symbols to quickly communicate a reaction. With a variety of emojis to choose from, social media users will be able to choose an appropriate emotional response to a post instead of just clicking on a heart.

Will Twitter emojis simplify or complicate the messing service?

[Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images]