- Twitter rolled out a change to its photo auto-cropping function on Wednesday.
- The platform now allows for bigger images to appear in the main feed on the mobile app.
- Users are testing the limits of the feature, posting their longest memes and images.
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Twitter surprised users on Wednesday by rolling out a new, long-awaited feature: a better image-crop function on mobile devices.
The move, Variety reported, followed reports of racial bias in the platform’s auto-cropping algorithm, which appeared to favor white people over Black people when cropping an image.
With an expanded ratio of photos now appearing on mobile Twitter feeds, users tested the limits of the feature by posting long photos and memes.
-Twitter (@Twitter) May 5, 2021
As The Verge’s Mitchell Clark noted, the feature does take away some of the fun by rendering “open for a surprise” tweets – ones where the punchline of the image is hidden when the image appears cropped – obsolete on mobile.
The change, which rolled out with little warning, led to several trending topics on Wednesday and Thursday. While the new format does appear to still have its limits (it will still crop an image if it’s too big, but not quite as harshly), users were quick to experiment with the new algorithm by posting long images.
-hi i’m angel !! ???????? – taking a nap after finals (@VanillaCherie) May 6, 2021
-✨⛓Chainsaw Shan????✨ (@shannondrewthis) May 6, 2021
-Sinnoh Shitpost ✨ (@DPPt_Shitpost) May 6, 2021
-ً (@fancysnaake) May 6, 2021
Many users posted memes about Doug Dimmadone, a character from Nickelodeon’s “Fairly Odd Parents” who is known for having a 38l hat that. The character – particularly edited iterations of him with a dramatically stretched hat – has become a well-known meme online.
-JakeWhyman (@Jake_Whyman) May 5, 2021
-????+carlos+???? (@RichHomieCarlos) May 5, 2021
Some tied the new image crop feature to a well-known Tumblr meme. In the early 2010s, a gradient image showing different colors of the sky began circulating in posts on Tumblr, Know Your Meme reported, typically accompanied by the caption, “Do you love the color of the sky?” The image became notorious for its length, and the inordinate amount of time it took to scroll past it, prompting ire for users who encountered it on their dashboard.
Since Twitter’s new cropping feature doesn’t appear to be limitless, it seems that particular evil has been avoided for now.
-lacey (@byelacey) May 5, 2021
Artists who share their work on Twitter celebrated the change, given that they frequently had to guess how the platform would crop their work when they posted it, as Motherboard’s Gita Jackson reported.
Twitter said in September 2020 that it was looking into why its cropping feature appeared to favor white faces over Black faces after users began to publicly test it on the platform, according to The Verge. A Twitter spokesperson told Variety that the launch on Wednesday was a “direct result of the feedback people shared with us last year that the way our algorithm cropped images wasn’t equitable.”