Following a slew of security updates in an attempt to reduce harassment, Twitter has recently announced the elimination of its infamous default profile photo.
Since 2010, whenever a new Twitter account was created, the default profile image appeared as an egg until the user replaced it with an image of their own. Prior to that, the company went cycled through several different images before finally settling on the egg for the past seven years
Well Twitter just now getting around to letting you block mentions from egg avis. Maybe a gender-based block is coming soon
— CeciATL (@CeciATL) March 21, 2017
This was intended to play off the site’s bird theme, suggesting that new Twitter users were just eggs waiting to hatch. However, in the age of online harassment, the default egg has come to take on negative connotations.
Since those inflicting online abuse often try to mask their identity, it became common to see that Twitter harassers had failed to replace their default image with their own profile picture. Hence, eggs have come to be seen as abusive accounts.
Rethinking our default profile photo. ???? https://t.co/5UjUltJwkf
— Twitter Design (@design) March 31, 2017
Therefore, Twitter has taken this opportunity to rethink its 2010 decision. In a post on Twitter’s official blog, the company takes a few paragraphs to explain their reasoning.
First and foremost, this action comes on the heels of last year’s brand refresh, which saw the social network minimize the thematic aspect of Twitter and emphasize its functionality. The company also explained that some accounts retained the egg because they thought it was “cute,” and that the newly default image will encourage users to personalize their accounts.
Twitter recognizes egg accounts are often abusive accounts. Rather than suspend the abusive accounts Twitter is removing the egg image. wtf.
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) March 31, 2017
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Twitter acknowledges that those accounts harassing others don’t often take the time to personalize their accounts. While some users are confused at Twitter’s decision to change the profile image rather than take action against those accounts. However, Twitter representatives write that this action will also remove the association between the egg and abusive accounts.
Replacing the egg will be a monochromatic, grey-on-grey silhouette of a person that doesn’t resemble poultry of any kind.
RIP Twitter eggs.