Twitter Bans Animated PNG Files

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Twitter is banning animated PNG image files (APNGs) from its platform, the company stated in a tweet. The announcement comes after an attack on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter account sent out animated images that could potentially cause seizures in photosensitive people. Twitter also discovered a bug that allowed users to bypass its autoplay settings and allow several animated images in a single tweet using the APNG file format.

The company says in a tweet from the Twitter Accessibility handle, “We want everyone to have a safe experience on Twitter. APNGs were fun, but they don’t respect autoplay settings, so we’re removing the ability to add them to Tweets. This is for the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy.”

Tweets with existing APNG images won’t be deleted from the platform, but only GIFs will be able to animate images moving forward. According to Yahoo, Twitter has further clarified that APNG files were not used to target the Epilepsy Foundation, but the bug meant such files could have been used to do so in the future had Twitter not moved to squash it.

The attacks on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter handle occurred last month (National Epilepsy Awareness Month) with trolls using its hashtags and Twitter handles to post animated images with strobing light effects. It’s not clear how many people may have been affected by the attack, but the foundation said it’s cooperating with law enforcement officials and has filed criminal complaints against accounts believed to have been involved.

Twitter said on Monday it will “look into building a similar feature that’s better for you and your Twitter experience” in lieu of APNGs.


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