Twitter Updates Default Avatar from Egg to ‘Gender-Balanced’ Figure

Posted: Mar 31, 2017 4:00 PM

Twitter announced today that it is replacing their default profile egg avatar with a gray, generic “gender-balanced” figure.

Twitter designers explained the process they went through to decide on the new default photo, saying they went through a number of ideas to determine "how to bring inclusivity into our single default profile photo, given that we don't require people to specify their gender on Twitter."

"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,” they said.

“We reviewed many variations of our figure, altering both the head and shoulders to feel more inclusive to all genders,” they added. “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. We chose grays because they feel temporary, generic, and universal.”

Twitter’s reasons for the change included the need “to prompt more self-expression,” and to encourage more people to upload their own photos.

They also note that they’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,” which “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.”

It’s unclear how a different default photo will get rid of the association between non-personalized accounts and harassment rather than just providing a new default photo with which to associate harassment.

Twitter updated the avatars to the new, gray figures Friday.

Some mocked the change on Twitter while others expressed their sadness over the missing Twitter eggs.