Everyone knows that Twitter has a harassment problem. And while the service has tried things like banning abusive users (both on a temporary and permanent basis) it hasn’t really fixed the problem.
Today, they’re announcing another sweeping change that fails to address the real problem: they’re cracking the egg.
In a long-winded post the service announced they are replacing the default egg with a unisex profile picture resembling a head and shoulders silhouette.
Beginning in 2010, all new accounts started with their default profile picture as an egg. Since then it has become an integral part of the Twitter brand. Everyone, even non-hardcore Twitter users, know the egg. Even CNN frequently features the egg when they show tweets from politicians and other celebrities.
Twitter gave a bunch of reasons for the switch. Some, like the fact that a more generic profile picture should encourage new users to actually upload a real profile picture of themselves, make sense.
But one reason for the switch was related to harassment.
Specifically, Twitter said that since abusive accounts often have the egg as a profile picture, there is now “an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior.”
Gee, ya think?
What Twitter isn’t understanding is that abusive tweets sent from an egg account will now just be abusive tweets sent from a silhouette account. Switching up the profile picture may be putting a band-aid on the problem, but it does nothing to fix harassment in the long run.
An abusive tweet is an abusive tweet, whether it’s next to an egg, a silhouette or a real person’s avatar.
Plus, as a byproduct, Twitter is killing off yet another part of Twitter’s unique internal language and identity — just like they did with @replies and favorites.
Don’t blame the egg, just fix the problem.