January 29, 2009

Twitter to Stop Accepting GIF Images as Your Avatar

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

In a last minute e-mail from Matt Sanford, an Engineer on the API Development team at Twitter, he announced that in the next week, Twitter will stop accepting GIF images as user profile images on Twitter. The change comes after a flaw, which I pointed out earlier on LouisGray.com, that enabled users to post animated GIF images, some times in very large sizes, as their Twitter profile image.

Previously, when uploading GIF images to Twitter, it would take several tries and multiple uploads to finally get it to stick on Twitter's end. The resulting image often did not resize, leaving the image in a much larger format, allowing your profile image to stand out in search results with the other profile images on Twitter (why they don't just put a width and height limit on profile images throughout the site is beside me). Sanford states that with GIF images it is difficult to detect problems with the image, as compared with other image formats.

Users like iJustine and many others (including myself) were able to take advantage of this around Christmas, adding animated graphics (as we showed earlier), and much larger than usual profile pictures. (It should be noted that iJustine now has a normal-sized profile image)

Sanford says that users that have already uploaded GIF images as their profile avatars will get to keep them, but moving forward GIF images will not be allowed to be uploaded, both on the Twitter Web site itself and via the API. The change is expected to take place within the next week.

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.