Twitter fights trolls by replacing iconic egg avatar with gender-neutral silhouette

Twitter fights trolls by replacing iconic egg avatar with gender-neutral silhouette
As part of Twitter’s campaign to clamp down on hate speech and improve overall civility on the platform, the social media giant has removed its iconic egg avatar in an effort to encourage people to upload profile pictures of themselves.

“We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others… This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior,” Twitter’s design team wrote in a blog post.

The egg has been a feature of the site since 2010 but has now been replaced with a standard, gender-neutral silhouette “to help prompt more self-expression.”

From a design perspective, the team actively sought to create a default avatar that was “Generic, Universal, Serious, Unbranded, Temporary, Inclusive” and “feels more like an empty state or placeholder.”

The team was also careful to make the new default avatar as inclusive as possible, especially given that they do not require users to specify their gender when registering. 

“We looked at how women are portrayed in generic, wayfinding iconography, such as bathroom signs, and noticed that the only difference between the sexes is the shape of their clothing.”

With this in mind, the team elongated the shape of both the head and the shoulders to reduce the perceived masculinity of the silhouette.

Despite the team’s best intentions and efforts, not everyone is happy with the change it seems.