Twitter ends support for animated PNGs: Here’s why they’re a problem

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 23, 2019, 6:12 pm CST
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Twitter ends support for animated PNGs: Here’s why they’re a problem

In an announcement today, Twitter revealed that it has removed support for animated PNGs from its service, something that doesn’t impact the ability to share animated GIFs. This now-removed support wasn’t being used the way the company wanted — Twitter says a bug made it possible for users to add multiple animated PNG images to a single tweet. This introduced a number of issues on the platform.

READ: Twitter tests new feature that makes it easier to revive threads

According to Twitter Support, multiple animated PNG images uploaded to a tweet can cause performance problems for the app and, potentially, on the user’s smartphone or tablet. The company isn’t removing any existing animated PNGs from the service; users can still upload them going forward.

However, the platform no longer allows these PNG image files to animate when they’re tweeted, meaning users will only see a still image. In an update on the matter, Twitter Support said in a tweet, “…Our teams will look into building a similar feature that’s better for you and your Twitter experience.”

Some users complained about this change, prompting a comment from Twitter’s Engineering account. In it, the company elaborates on why animated PNGs are a problem for the platform, pointing back to the slower app performance, increased memory use on the user’s device, and potentially even issues with the app crashing.

Finally, the Twitter Accessibility account also chimed in on the matter, pointing out another issue with animated PNGs: they could trigger seizures in people who have epilepsy. The animated PNGs don’t abide by an account’s autoplay settings, meaning users are exposed to the animations whether they want them or not. The company says it will eventually add an alt-text option to GIFs, a feature that was available on APNGs.


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