Twitter Bans Animated Files After Cyberattack

Twitter blocks animated PNGs after trolls used them to trigger seizures

Twitter also mentioned that PNGs used up a lot of data and often caused app-crashing scenarios.

Twitter aims to ban animated PNG picture files (APNGs) on its platform, following an assault on the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter account that delivered related animated photographs that may trigger seizures in photosensitive people.

In response to the incident, a Twitter spokesperson told Digital Trends: "We want people to feel safe with our service".

After looking into it, the company discovered a bug that allowed APNGs to be used several times in a tweet, bypassing autoplay settings.

This led to concerns that the animated images could be sent in bulk to crash Twitter app/website or trigger life-threatening seizures in photo-sensitive and epileptic patients.

It also added that APNGs "don't respect" autoplay settings.

The organization noted that people with epilepsy may not be aware that they're sensitive to strobing lights until they have a seizure. However, the platform will not delete existing tweets with APNGs.

Twitter has today announced that the website will start blocking animated PNG files (or APNGs) from being posted to the social media platform.

The attacks with the animated files happened on the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter handle last month, during National Epilepsy Month.

The company got to know only after the epilepsy foundation had filed a criminal complaint in law enforcement of the united states. Only GIF images can be animated in the future. Additionally, Twitter said that it will "look into building a similar feature".

"These attacks are no different than a person carrying a strobe light into a convention of people with epilepsy and seizures, with the intention of inducing seizures and thereby causing significant harm to the participants", said Allison Nichol, Esq., director of legal advocacy for the Epilepsy Foundation.



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