Twitter ditches egg avatar

Posted on April 5, 2017


Microblogging site Twitter has recently announced that it is getting rid of its egg avatar as part of its strategy to deter internet trolls.

The iconic avatar, which is assigned to all new profiles on the site as a jovial reference to the Twitter bird logo, has been in use for the last seven years, but the company feels it is time to crack on with a different avatar picture.

The company is concerned that the egg is becoming the face of trolling and abuse on the platform and wants to relieve these connotations for users by shaking things up and introducing something new.

Bosses at the firm have revealed that the company plans to release a new default profile picture that will take the form of a gender-neutral silhouette. It hopes that this will prompt more self-expression from users.

Prior to making this decision, the company undertook some research as to why certain users decide to retain the default egg avatar as their profile picture, and its product design and research team said that many thought that it was cute and a fun idea that plays on the site’s logo and name.

The team also believe that the new graphic would give an emptier impression and would be more likely to encourage new users to upload their own images. With internet trolls setting up accounts simply to cause pain and anguish amongst other users, the egg avatar had become stigmatised with these feelings.

The initial announcement was made on Friday 31st March, and many users mistook it for a poorly timed April Fools’ Day joke.

Twitter first launched in 2006, at which time the default profile image was a person’s silhouette. This was then changed in 2007 to “o_O”, which lasted for two years. In 2009, it was altered again, this time designed in the shape of a bird. The following year, the egg was introduced and this has been in use ever since. It is the longest service default avatar to date, but looks certain to be taken down in the near future.

The new design was selected with the help of a study in bathroom signage iconography and focused on gender neutrality. According to Twitter, the design had to give a “temporary, generic and universal” vibe to prompt change.

A number of users voiced their opinions on the matter, saying that changing the image is not a way to combat the real issue at hand. Twitter has always been troubled by cyber bullying and has attempted to limit this in the past, with plans to introduce a filter back in November, but it still has a long way to go in trying to reach its ultimate goal.

If cyber bullying has caused you strife, why not take a look at our How to Trace a Fake Facebook Account eBook available via the Online Learning Academy?

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