Twitter has announced that it’s testing edge-to-edge media in tweets on iOS, creating a more full-screen, almost Instagram-like experience for the photos and videos in your timeline.
In an email to The Verge, Twitter writes that it’s testing the change because it wants to better support conversations that are both visual and text-based. You can get a sense of what that looks like in a video posted to Twitter’s support account:
Now testing on iOS:— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 7, 2021
Edge to edge Tweets that span the width of the timeline so your photos, GIFs, and videos can have more room to shine. pic.twitter.com/luAHoPjjlY
This change, if it rolls out beyond a select group of iOS users, also helps Twitter address concerns over image cropping that it’s been dealing with over the last few years. Image cropping algorithms have been informally shown to have a bias toward white faces, something Twitter confirmed earlier this year. Twitter has attempted to address that problem by eliminating photo cropping, but this design test takes things a step further with an Instagram-style emphasis on visuals. Entire joke formats get lost in the process, but such is the cost of progress.
Naturally, some people have already taken issue with Twitter’s design. Searches for “New Twitter” bring up plenty of complaints, like that the new layout is headache-inducing and that edge-to-edge screenshots of tweets can confusingly look like an actual tweet. Clearly, Twitter might have some more tweaking to do before this test becomes something official.