I saw:

enter image description here

Console: https://i.stack.imgur.com/eIuIh.png

Why is there "[username name]s' user avatar" on this user's avatar? I thought there would be either an avatar or the default avatar.

  • A related feature request: Off-site avatar images are a privacy risk. Quoting from the post (revision 7), "The Facebook avatars are blocked by the default setting of the Firefox tracking protection, so anyone using Firefox with this enabled will see a slightly broken SE site. Firefox is also enabling tracking protection by default now, so this will affect a lot more people soon." Feb 23 at 2:00
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    A related bug report on MathOverflow Meta: Occasional "echoed" usernames in Firefox Feb 23 at 2:02
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    It really shouldn't say anything there. This is an annoyance that comes up all the time when using a screen reader.
    – Laurel
    Feb 23 at 3:47
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    This is just a broken image, showing the "alt" text defined for it. There is no such thing "default avatar". Feb 23 at 9:44
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    @ShadowWizardChasingStars by default I mean something like i.stack.imgur.com/Xf89C.png How do you call it? Feb 23 at 9:49
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    That's identicon, generated by Gravatar. When someone creates account using email and password that's indeed what is being used as avatar, but your case is about Facebook and Google users, where SE is taking the avatar from Facebook or Google, and it's taken from their profiles, I'm not 100% sure how exactly it is done, but it often breaks. (Not SE fault, probably something in the user settings or privacy, which is set to allow only friends to see the avatar.) Feb 23 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


It’s the 'alternate text' because the avatar won't load. Some digging (trying to open the image on its own gives this error

enter image description here

Resolving this error is out of the scope of this answer (that's to say that Facebook avatars are broken is a different issue + I have no idea how to solve it, nor can I actually suggest a fix).


It seems that some user's profile pictures get loaded from Facebook, because they connect their SE account to their Facebook Account.

I currently have a browser extension (DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials), which is designed to block trackers from Facebook. It appears that for some reason, it is registering a false positive, perhaps a change to where the picture is getting fetched from (a lot of these extensions block stuff that matches a certain URL pattern).

Because the image is blocked, an alternative (the text you see) is displayed.

I can tell this, because in chrome DevTools, it reports ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT (something on your computer doesn't want the picture to load)

Failed to load - ERR BLOCKED BY CLIENT

Test - I can see the picture properly on a computer without said extension, so this theory seems to be correct (for me).

I can think of lots of extensions which might trigger this, maybe try to disable them:

  • Built-in tracking prevention on browsers like Edge, Opera, Firefox and Brave
  • Privacy Badger
  • Ad blockers (lots of ads come from Facebook, makes sense to block images from Facebook, imo)
  • DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
  • Another other 'Privacy' or 'AdBlock' extension...
  • Thanks, I tried with Chrome, Edge and Firefox same pb, even in incognito. Feb 23 at 1:40
  • Can you take a screenshot (@FranckDernoncourt) when you press CTRL+SHIFT+I and then go to 'Console'? If you don't see ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT, I'll be interested to see what you actually see. Thanks! Sorry that didn't help Feb 23 at 1:42
  • Thanks, console: i.stack.imgur.com/eIuIh.png Feb 23 at 1:48
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    Thanks, looks like my extensions are blocking the request before the server can even return 400, but without extensions, it looks like the other answer probably describes the issue a bit better! Sorry for waste of time Feb 23 at 1:52
  • No worries, that's good to know too. Feb 23 at 2:04
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    .... fun fact... this is probably a better 'why' but not the what, and my browser's probably doing the same, and I'm not sure if its the built in tracking blocking or the adblock :D
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 23 at 2:11
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    Not really a false positive. Facebook uses these avatars like tracking pixels so the extension is correct in blocking them. Feb 23 at 4:35

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