Twitter has just announced that it is removing the iconic (and ill-reputed) egg default profile picture. In place of the egg, the company has come up with a new default profile picture that inspires diversity and expression.
Twitter explains in a blog post that it has gone through various iterations of its new profile picture in order to make sure that it represents a particular set of qualities: generic, universal, serious, unbranded, temporary, and inclusive. The company notes that it worked to ensure the default picture was inclusive of all, focusing on ensuring the picture was gender-balanced in particular:
People have come to associate the circle head with masculinity, and because of this association, we felt that it was important to explore alternate head shapes. We reviewed many variations of our figure, altering both the head and shoulders to feel more inclusive to all genders.
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When the shoulders were wider, the image felt overly masculine, so we decreased the width of the shoulders and adjusted the height of the figure. As a result of these iterations, we ended with a more gender-balanced figure.
The step has been made as Twitter has worked to clean up spam and harassment on the social network. The firm has come under fire for not doing much to fight harassment and has come up with various news measures recently as a result. Well, some would still assert that it is not doing much.
Twitter also announced new muting features some time back that make it easier for users to filter out unwanted content from notifications and timelines. In addition, it stopped counting @usernames towards the character count in tweets recently as well.
The egg profile picture has become linked with the kind of spam and harassment accounts that Twitter is trying to remove. So that might be the reason for the new, less recognizable default profile picture. The firm hopes by making the profile picture more generic, people will be less inclined to make use of it and in its place go for something more personal and unique and work towards lessening privacy:
We noticed that some people kept the egg default profile photo because they thought it was fun and cute, but we want people to use this space to show us who they are! The new default image feels more like an empty state or placeholder, and we hope it encourages people to upload images that express themselves.