The past week your news feed on Facebook has probably been a lot more colourful.
The Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage last week in the United States, and in celebration Facebook is offering a tool to add a rainbow overlay to their profile picture dubbed Celebrate Pride. There was more than a million people who changed their profile picture within hours of the tool launching.
I personally didn’t change my profile picture at all, it doesn’t mean I don’t support same-sex marriage (I actually do), however I thought it was just another craze making its rounds on Facebook. It seems though people like Grace Jennings of Mammamia are calling those like myself who didn’t change their profile picture a douchebag. Others that were commenting on my Facebook post seem to be using the term Bigot, however I have since been unfriended by them.
As soon as I saw that everyone was changing their profile pictures to rainbows it rang alarm bells for me. I thought this is just going to be another psychological experiment on Facebook users. It’s not the first time Facebook has done this kind of experiment. Back in 2013 Facebook influenced over 3 million people to change their Facebook profile picture into a red equals sign, the logo of Human Rights Campaign, as a way to support marriage equality.
In 2012, Facebook altered just shy of 700,000 users news feeds by highlighting either positive or negative items dubbed “emotion contagion”. So it isn’t too absurd to believe that the latest rainbow filter for supporting the LGBT+ community is just another social experiment? I don’t think so, and it seems I’m not the only one.
According to Daily Mail, the Celebrate Pride tool was actually Facebook’s way of performing yet another psychological test on their users.
“This is probably a Facebook experiment!’ said the MIT network scientist Cesar Hidalgo on Facebook yesterday.”
“The question is, how long will it take for people to change their profile pictures back to normal.”