In a move that is bound to be seen as a tacit admission of the platform becoming a favored hunting ground of online abusers, Twitter has announced it is replacing the default egg avatar as that has become almost synonymous with internet abuse.
Twitter has often been accused of being soft towards those who take to the platform simply to abuse and troll others. And more often than not, they carry on with their nefarious design using the default logo – that of the egg. In fact, the menace has grown to such proportions that the egg avatar has come to be associated with trolling.
Maybe Twitter is concerned that any mass-scale action against the trollers would stunt its growth even more. Further, it also runs the risk of reigniting the classic debate between those who favor freedom of speech and the ones who’d rather see a more balanced approach when responding to anyone’s tweet.
Twitter meanwhile stated their adoption of the new default profile pic is the result of a careful study of the icons used to refer to bathrooms, with the emphasis being on gender neutrality. It also stated they have kept the color as grey in order to make the users tempted to make it more personalized as early as they can.
This also marks the fifth time the default profile image has been changed, with the egg having been there the longest, from 2010 till now. Previous to that, Twitter relied on a bird symbol to point to new users, which was there from 2009 till 2010.
Prior to the bird, two circles denoted new users and were used from 2007. That again was preceded by the image of a person in silhouette that was used since twitter was born on 2006.
Of all these symbols, it was perhaps the egg that was the most popular. The idea behind it was that it would hatch into birds, an analogy to the process of personalizing the account soon after its creation with more meaningful pictures. And birds happen to be the central theme behind the working of Twitter in the first place.
However, the company might soon have to look for other default pictures if trolling is allowed unabated as it is now; for it would only be a matter of time before the new symbol too comes to be identified with online abuse.