Twitter just lost what is arguably its most iconic feature: the egg avatar.
Since 2010, when you signed up for Twitter, the default photo was an egg, to “reference how eggs hatch into birds.” Cute.
Over the past seven years though, the meaning of the ubiquitous Twitter egg has spun out of the company’s control.
As anyone who spends time on Twitter knows, the accounts with egg avatars are often the worst offenders. Harassers and bots tend to prefer to be eggs.
Eggs became so symbolic of abusive behavior that it was possible to use the two terms interchangeably. “My mentions are full of eggs,” meant the same thing as “A bunch of people are harassing me right now.”
A number of users also clung to their eggs for sentimental or privacy reasons.
Some kept them involuntarily, because they had no idea how to change their profile photo. Last year, Twitter stopped requiring users to upload a custom picture when they set up a new account because it created such an issue for new users, Fast Company reported.
Starting Friday, the default profile photo is now a so-called “gender-balanced figure.” We think it kind of looks like half of an egg with a small, rotting egg on top of it. So, yea.
While the egg came in an array of colorful options, the new default image is meant to be more generic and bland. The idea, of course, is to encourage users to choose a custom photo.
While Twitter has taken steps this month to fight back against abuse, users immediately saw the new profile picture as a cosmetic fix to a serious issue.
Changing what a harasser’s picture looks like doesn’t do anything to change their behavior, after all.