Twitter removes backgrounds from timeline, moves to tweets

Did your Twitter timeline's custom wallpaper just disappear on you? No need to panic, there's nothing really wrong There is no widespread Twitter bug. Actually, yes do panic because since it's not a bug, it means there's nothing to be fixed. In a still unexplained move, Twitter removed custom background images and design from your profile and home timeline page. Fear not, it hasn't completely disappeared into nothingness. You can still see them, but only if you're viewing individual tweets and nowhere else in the Twitterverse.

Twitter has also updated its "Customizing your design" help page to reflect the official change. It went from this:

"When you customize your design, everything you see on your Twitter home timeline and on your Notifications and Discover tabs will be set in the theme you have chosen."

To this:

"You can customize your design theme so that users who click to view your Tweet detail pages will see it. Other than your theme color, your design theme will not be visible on your profile or Home timeline."

In a nutshell, your whole custom design, including your chosen background image, can only be seen in individual tweets. Anywhere else, only the theme color will be visible.

The strangest part of this visibly jarring change is that Twitter isn't explaining why. At least not yet. Is Twitter suddenly going for a unified general look and has decided that custom backgrounds clash with that goal? Those who will probably be most affected by this sudden change are brands that rely heavily on social networks like Twitter for marketing.

One possible explanation could be Twitter's transition from "social network" to "news platform". This shifts the focus from a particular person or organization's stream of tweets and more on a particular pieces of news. In this case, focusing the branding on individual tweets makes more sense. Then again, there's no reason it can't be done for both tweets and timelines. Twitter definitely has some explaining to do.