Twitter announced today that the company is changing the default avatar for new accounts from the infamous multicolored eggs to a new default profile photo that depicted a gray, genderless image of a person with a vaguely gumdrop-shaped head.
The change from the colorful eggs to the blander silhouette is an intentional one by Twitter, which noted that the new image is specifically meant to be less interesting and feel more like a placeholder, in an effort to encourage users to customize their profiles to a more unique image.
As detailed on the announcement post, the company went through numerous iterations to reach a final result that met the goals of an image that was “generic, universal, serious, unbranded, temporary, and inclusive.” Rejected results include a variety of other vague head shapes, a landscape, and a design that consisted solely of gray stripes.
Additionally, Twitter’s blog does acknowledge that in recent years, the anonymous Twitter egg has become associated with abusive and harassing behavior on the social network. And while eliminating the egg is at least recognizing that there is problem, changing the default image just puts a difference face on the issues of abuse, as opposed to actually serving as a concrete step in solving those problems. (Although in fairness, the company has also recently began to roll out more tools to help keep newly created accounts out of users timelines.)
We’ve reached out to Twitter for additional details on the change, and will continue to update this post with any new information.