Twitter wanted to let go of their most popular icon — the default egg avatar. And they just did.

It started back in 2010. After you signed up for Twitter, the default photo before you upload your own was an egg. This was a playful way to reference how eggs hatch into birds that send all the Tweets you see on Twitter. Makes sense, right?

But over the past few years, the meaning of this Twitter egg has gotten off the hands of the company. Now, the accounts with egg avatars are often described as the worst offenders and bots try to harass other people. There are phrases like “My mentions are full of eggs” that actually meant “A bunch of coward people are harassing me right now.”

Starting this Friday, the default profile photo is now a so-called “gender-balanced figure.” Because they think it’s time for something new — something that encourages people to upload their own photos for more personal expression.

These are few reasons why the company is doing this:

  • Last year we refreshed our brand, with a new look and feel highlighting the diversity and expressiveness of the people around the world who make up the Twitter community, in all its color and vibrancy. As part of our work to bring these ideas into the product, we realized it was time to change the default profile photo, to help prompt more self-expression.
  • 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.
  • We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts. This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.

I’m sure this will not actually help people to identify themselves, but we’ll have to see first.


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