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Twitter fail-whale snacks on user avatars

Don't freak out or anything, but your user icon might have disappeared from Twitter on Monday. Luckily, CEO Evan Williams says it won't be gone for long.

The Fail Whale ate your Twitter user icon for lunch and now it's too heavy to lift. Twitter

Twitter has been hiccuping all day, it seems. Earlier, some users (myself included) noticed occurrences of the service's notorious "fail whale"--the cartoon that pops up when Twitter's servers are overloaded--and later, some members began to report that their profile pictures had disappeared and were replaced by Twitter's default icon.

As they say at Fark, everybody panic!

Well, not really. Twitter CEO Evan Williams acknowledged the issue, saying "if you're missing your icon/avatar, please excuse -- will be back shortly!" in a Twitter post. As of Monday afternoon, some of them are still MIA, and Twitter hasn't said what the exact issue is. But, from what it sounds like, the avatars are not gone forever.

The irony? I navigated to Williams' profile page shortly after 4 p.m. PT, and his own avatar was down. Maybe it was just for solidarity.

Twitter's outage problems were notorious in its early days, regularly downing its servers and spawning rumors that hardware issues had led to the ouster of one of its top engineers. Major outages are now rare at Twitter.

Update: We wanted to note that the "fail whale" art was created by Yiying Lu.