Twitter improves image crops, happy users flood site with vertical photos

"No bird too tall." Artists and photographers rejoice at the change, as do Twitter users who want to post photos of wookiees and tall hats.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz
2 min read

Giraffes and Chewbacca are having their best day ever. 

Twitter on Wednesday rolled out improvements to the way images are viewed and posted, and joyful users quickly deluged the platform with vertical photos that previously might have shown up in timelines with an odd or unfortunate crop. 

Now, when users tweet a photo uploaded with their iOS or Android device, it will appear in the timeline in its entirety. Plus, users can preview what an image will look like in the tweet composer pre-post rather than having to pray to the cropping algorithm not to cut off Mr. Meow Meow's head. 

"Twitter crop is gone," the site Fandom wrote alongside a photo of a lanky, left-leaning Groot. In the olden days (earlier this week), the same photo of the plant-like Guardians of the Galaxy star might have focused only on his trunk. Now Twitter users get to see Groot's entire face of flora before clicking on the tweet to expand the photo.    

"No bird too tall, no crop too short," Twitter wrote in a tweet announcing the change. "Introducing bigger and better images on iOS and Android, now available to everyone." 

Twitter first announced back in March that it was testing new features to improve how photos appear on the platform. The site also recently updated to 4K images. 

"Today's launch is a direct result of the feedback people shared with us last year that the way our algorithm cropped images wasn't equitable," a Twitter spokesperson said Wednesday, referring to charges of racial bias in its photo preview generator. The spokesperson added that very wide or tall images will still be center-cropped by default, "but this is something we're working to improve." 

A quick glance through the trending Twitter crop is gone topic indicated wide support for the latest shift, especially among creatives. 

"Fabulous news for photographers and artists," one Twitter user wrote, sharing a photo of a bird whose outstretched wings could be seen in both directions even before the image gets expanded.  

"Twitter crop is gone. Time to repost my vertical art," posted another.  

But visual artists aren't the only ones celebrating the change. Along with countless images of art shared in response to the news came jokes about tall hats, people (and puppets) with tufts of hair and, well, those with long body parts

As The Verge points out, the change does take away the element of surprise that comes with seeing part of an image and then having an aha moment once you expand to see the full picture. But that seems like a small price to pay for not having to worry about which photo of Long Boi the tall duck you choose to tweet