Twitter fights trolls by replacing iconic egg avatar with gender-neutral silhouette
“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.
TWITTER Those egg accounts that spew venomous insults all day-— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 31, 2017
ME You banned them?
TWITTER -we made their avatars look like car headrests
The literal picture of the egg isn't the damn problem! pic.twitter.com/OFovDmOmmf— Bridget Gelms (@BridgetGelms) March 31, 2017
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.”
RIP #TwitterEgg, remember it was them that cracked not you— Colm McGlinchey (@ColmMcGlinchey) March 31, 2017
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.