To show its affection for the people of South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, Twitter also announced today that it will be adding a special ‘heart’ (and some words of encouragement) every time someone tweets the hashtags #SouthSudan, #Yemen or #Syria.

The announcement comes just a few hours after the popular social media company surprised its millions of subscribers by changing the star icon for favourites to a heart that they said will be called likes.

According to Twitter, a simple heart at the end of a depressing tweet goes a long way and can have a miraculous effect. And – as is the case for tweets about #SouthSudan, #Syria and #Yemen – they just want to show their solidarity and encourage others to continue tweeting about their suffering in these countries.

“We are trying this new and innovative way to encourage and make it pleasurable to deliver messages or tweets as we call them, to war-torn countries by giving a special heart..”

To launch and promote the initiative, Twitter has launched a special hash-tag #TwitterHearts4SouthSudan and the equivalent for the other countries. With every tweet bearing the tag, the special heart (and a touching phrase) appears under the tweet. With every click on the heart another person can show that they really care for the plight felt by those surviving under such difficult circumstances.

With the new changes, awkward or depressing tweets like “Hunger in #SouthSudan..” will become “Hunger in #SouthSudan (have a heart south_sudan_640 )…”

The show of affection towards South Sudan comes as a total surprise to many considering Twitter does not even list or recognize South Sudan (with a heavy heart) on its website.