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Twitter to become a hub of high-res images; platform will retain JPEG encoding for pictures

Previously, photo uploads were transcoded, resulting in degradation in quality.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 14, 2019, 03.40 PM IST
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Users can view the full, high-resolution, uncompressed image upon clicking the thumbnail on one’s Twitter feed.
Users can view the full, high-resolution, uncompressed image upon clicking the thumbnail on one’s Twitter feed.
Twitter may not be the first port of call for photographers, but the microblogging platform is changing the way it processes media uploads in an effort to attract more shutterbugs looking to show off their portfolio and create a brand online. Nolan O’Brien, an engineer with Twitter, shared that the platform will now retain JPEG encoding when images are uploaded on the web.

Previously, photo uploads were transcoded, resulting in degradation in quality, a frustrating experience that led photographers to look at alternatives like Lightbox and 500px. Twitter, however, will still be compressing and transcoding the images that will appear as thumbnails on people’s feeds. The compression will not be lossless.

But users can view the full, high-resolution, uncompressed image upon clicking the thumbnail on one’s Twitter feed, provided that the photo that uploaded is a JPEG file. Metadata will be stripped at the time of uploading. This includes EXIF files that provide additional information about the media file, such as when and where a photo was taken, and the device used.


This is not the first time that Twitter has sought to minimize upload size by stripping metadata. However, inquisitive photographers will feel hard done by the move as some professional photo-sharing websites offer users a peek into the settings used to capture an image, like the aperture, ISO, white balance, and others.

Such information is useful aspiring photographers thumbing through photos taken by professionals they admire. On the flip side, it can be extracted by malicious actors, and be used to detect information like location and device used, potentially posing a security threat.

O’Brien took to Twitter to illustrate the resolution and image quality that will be preserved as a result of the platform’s new policy tweak. Photos on Twitter will soon look much better, but it remains to be seen if it will result in an exodus of accounts from other professional photo-sharing websites, or even apps like Instagram, which are favoured by amateur shutterbugs.

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Moving Over Twitter

8 Nov, 2019
It’s been a busy week for Indian twitterati. Much pent-up anger has been tweeted about, and things that have found a mention include politics (but of course), the impending Ayodhya verdict, Maharashtra power deal, Delhi lawyers scrapping with the cops and the India-Bangladesh T20 games.But this is not all. Those frequent on Twitter would have noticed that many accounts on the micro-blogging platform have started using “Mastodon”. Many have tagged their names to the account and urged their followers to follow suit and quit Twitter to protest against the social platform’s policies..
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