What Is Twitter Crop? Users Say 'RIP' As Image Feature Gone From iOS, Android Devices

Twitter has started to phase out its automatic image cropping feature with an update, and users have flooded the site with images to try out the new system.

Twitter's image cropping feature will be familiar with users who frequently post or view photos on the site. It is often referred to by users as the Twitter crop.

Instead of showing an entire image, Twitter tends to display photos as the same size, even if it means cutting off a significant portion of the image. Users are only able to see the full image when they click on it.

To decide which parts of the photo the cropping system cuts out and which parts it will display, Twitter uses machine learning to work out which part of an image people will be most likely to look at first.

Users often take advantage of the feature, introducing memes such as "open for a surprise," in which an unexpected portion of the image is cut off by the Twitter crop and only displayed once a user clicks on it.

On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter announced that the feature had been removed from its Apple iOS and Android apps—but not yet on desktop. As an example, Twitter posted a photo of a long-necked egret bird which was displayed in full. Previously, it would have been cut off.

Now, Twitter users have been posting long photos along with the caption "RIP Twitter crop" as a send off for the feature. Artists in particular appear to be happy with the new change. Examples can be seen below, though it should be noted that the effect will only be shown if viewed on mobile.

no bird too tall, no crop too short

introducing bigger and better images on iOS and Android, now available to everyone pic.twitter.com/2buHfhfRAx

— Twitter (@Twitter) May 5, 2021

twitter crop is gone now twitter can finally contain all of fat pikachu pic.twitter.com/YTFiWBourq

— TAHK0 ☕️ (@TAHK0) May 5, 2021

No more Twitter crop? pic.twitter.com/T617NCnTgx

— Abberationist 🏳️‍🌈 (@Abberationist) May 6, 2021

TWITTER CROP IS GONE POST YOUR ART pic.twitter.com/ploxGiuiOu

— cat (working on Rymin comic)// BLM (@caastlesart) May 5, 2021

Twitter's cropping feature has been previously criticized. Last year, the company apologized after users complained that the algorithm behind the photo crops tended to be biased towards focussing on white faces.

Users tested out the bias by posting stock photo models and even dogs and cartoon characters.

I tried it with dogs. Let's see. pic.twitter.com/xktmrNPtid

— - M A R K - (@MarkEMarkAU) September 20, 2020

In response to the criticisms Twitter released a statement regarding "recent conversation around our photo cropping methods".

The company said it had put its cropping algorithm through bias analysis and had tested for preference between demographic groups hundreds of times.

It added: "While our analyses to date haven't shown racial or gender bias, we recognize that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for harm. We should've done a better job of anticipating this possibility when we were first designing and building this product."

Twitter logo
The Twitter logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019. The social media platform has updated its photo cropping feature. Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty