Twitter is radically changing its default new user profile image: eggs will become gray human silhouettes.
In recent years, the eggs had become associated with trolls and abusive accounts.
Twitter has struggled with abusive users all its life. It's released several features to combat abuse in recent months. For example, people can choose not to see tweets from accounts without profile pictures, it rolled out new mute features, and Twitter now algorithmically scans for abusive tweets.
Eggs became associated with abuse because people seeking to harass others anonymously would seldom bother to upload profile pictures.
In its blog post, the company cited abuse as one of the major reasons for making the change:
We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts. This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.
Twitter says that the new profile image is better because it's kind of boring and people will want to change it.
A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that while the egg was fun, colorful and Twitter-branded, the new image is nondescript, which is meant to give less prominence to people using it.
People will also start seeing more in-app prompts to upload profile pics according to Twitter.
Yet the decision was met largely with a mix of criticism...
And, of course, amusement.
The change came a day after Twitter rolled out changes to its reply feature, largely to the displeasure of users.
Blake Montgomery is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Blake Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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