Tuesday 4 April 2017

Twitter Finally Ditches Egg Icon Used By Anonymous Trolls


The image is used as a profile picture for anyone who has not uploaded their own.


But the social media giant admitted it had noticed that people with accounts which used the image were more likely to carry out “abuse” on the site.

The simple image, which had been in use since 2010, is to be replaced by a neutral silhouette which Twitter says has been designed to look empty or like a placeholder in order to encourage users to personalise their accounts.

However, it is not clear whether trolls will be persuaded to stop their bullying just because their profiles will now use a different image.

“We’ve noticed patterns of behaviour with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalise their accounts,” Twitter said.


“This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behaviour, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalised their profile photo.

“The new default image feels more like an empty state or placeholder, and we hope it encourages people to upload images that express themselves.”

Twitter’s designers thought hard about the shape of the new icon’s head and claimed the round head icon used on toilet signs was too masculine.


It wanted to create a “gender-balanced figure”, so gave it a bizarrely wide jaw which makes it look like it has a jowls and a double chin.

“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,” Twitter wrote.

“We reviewed many variations of our figure, altering both the head and shoulders to feel more inclusive to all genders.

“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 icon is coloured grey to makes it appear “temporary, generic, and universal”, Twitter said.

Twitter has been frequently criticised for the amount of abuse and hate speech that appears on the platform.


Earlier this month the Home Affairs Select Committee told Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, that the companies had a “terrible reputation” for acting upon reports of abuse and offensive material posted to their sites.

However, Twitter has also recently revealed it shut down more than 375,000 accounts in the second half of 2016 because of violations to the site’s terms of use surrounding extreme material.

Twitter recently rolled out an update which means people’s usernames don’t count towards the 140 character limit – a big change to the way people have conversations on the social network.



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