Twitter’s latest unexpected change is square profile pictures for brands

Twitter is adding to its increasingly complex ways of differentiating accounts with new square profile pictures with rounded corners for brands. The new type of profile pic started rolling out on the platform on Monday, and you might already be able to see them on brand profiles and in your feed.

Here’s what The Verge’s new square profile pic looks like, for example:

A screenshot of part of The Verge’s Twitter profile.

It’s a square.
Image: Jay Peters / The Verge

And here it is in the feed:

A screenshot of The Verge’s new square profile picture in a tweet you might see in your feed.

Still a square.
Image: Jay Peters / The Verge

It appears that these square profile pictures are being applied to accounts with gold verification badges, which already denote official business accounts. The Verge’s official deals and transportation-focused accounts, for example, have blue badges and still have round profile pictures.

A screenshot showing three of The Verge’s Twitter accounts.

One of these profile pics is not like the other.
Image: Jay Peters / The Verge

A screenshot of Twitter’s #OneTeam profile, which features a round profile picture fit awkwardly in the new square shape.

A round peg in a square hole.
Image: Jay Peters / The Verge

I should also note that the square profile pictures are actually the third possible option. Most accounts have the standard circle, brands now have squares, and Twitter Blue subscribers with NFT profile pictures can have hexagons.

But square profile pictures aren’t the only new identification tool Twitter is rolling out. It’s also introducing a new smaller box that sits next to a checkmark on a profile and seems to show one account’s connection to another. (We’re approaching Tumblr-level ridiculousness here.) You might be able to see examples on three accounts: @TwitterSupport, as shown in the screenshot at the top of this post, the official Twitter Verified account, and @TwitterBlue all have a small profile picture of the @Twitter account next to their badges.

Hovering over the miniaturized profile picture currently doesn’t show any sort of indicator of what it is, unlike verification badges, which do. But if you click on the gold badge on one of those three accounts, you’ll see a message telling you it is “an affiliate of @Twitter on Twitter;” typically, clicking a gold badge tells you the account is a business. In the case of the Support, Verified, and Blue accounts, if you click on the mini @Twitter profile pic, it takes you directly to Twitter’s account.

The new gold badge message (left) vs. what it typically is (right).

After we first published this story, we noticed that VC David Sacks, a friend of Twitter CEO Elon Musk, also has a new second badge, though his points to the profile to his venture capital firm, Craft Ventures. Confusingly, clicking his verification badge currently doesn’t spell out an affiliation and instead shows a message about verification that you might be familiar with from the pre-Musk era. Nowadays, clicking most legacy (aka non-paid) blue badges shows a message that an account “may or may not be notable.”

Update December 19th, 4:35PM ET: Added details about different messages you see when you click verification badges with the new indicator.

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