Twitter Getting Rid Of The Default Egg Profile Picture That Has A Bad Actor Reputation
According to a Twitter representative, “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.”
The “egg” picture was originally intended as a reference to Twitter users “hatching” their new accounts and tweets. The new faceless head is intended as a “an empty state or placeholder” to encourage “people to upload images that express yourself”. The new default picture is also not supposed to be gender specific. A Twitter rep remarked, “We reviewed many variations of our figure, altering both the head and shoulders to feel more inclusive to all genders”.
The new profile default picture is only the latest in Twitter’s attempt to curb cyberbullying. In the last month, Twitter has temporarily banned users who did not comply with its terms of service. The site limited the reach of non-compliant accounts for an average of 12-hours, and if a person tagged someone in a tweet who did not follow them, the tagged person did not see the message. Users were not only being banned for using specific naughty words, but for having an “abusive” account in general.
Twitter also has expanded its filter options. Last November, Twitter allowed users to “mute” certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations. In March, this expanded to those without a profile photo, unverified email addresses or phone numbers. Users are now allowed to mute directly from their timeline and decide how long to mute something.
Will this new profile picture really curb cyberbullying or encourage self-expression? If a default picture is offered on any site, it is likely to be abused. A site would need to offer no default picture in order to decrease anonymity. Only time will tell if Twitter’s new default profile picture is a success.