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Is Facebook Doing Research With ‘Celebrate Pride’?

MFG Archive

In this news roundup, we take a look at 'Were All Those Rainbow Profile Photos Another Facebook Study?', featured on The Atlantic.


Following the Supreme Court’s decision in favour of same-sex marriage as a constitutional right this past Friday, you might have noticed your Facebook news feed become a little more colourful as the social media network provided a way to show your support. The ‘Celebrate Pride‘ feature provides a simple way to make profile photos rainbow coloured, and within the first few hours over a million people had enabled the feature – and the number is continuing to grow.


The feature is beginning to raise some more serious questions regarding Facebook’s intentions. Is Facebook using the feature to conduct research? Questions have been raised in the past about Facebook’s data scientists tracking user  and voting behaviour, which have some sceptical about the feature. Others see it as a way the network is furthering collective action and social change in the digital space.


The effectiveness of profile-image campaigns on social media has been a subject of debate since 2009. Regardless of outcome, this latest trend is posing many thought-provoking questions about the impact of social-media solidarity, often referred to as ‘slacktivism’.  In this article, The Atlantic takes a look at State and Adamic’s study on a similar profile-photo campaign on Facebook in 2013, and how Facebook could potentially use the ‘Celebrate Pride’ feature to retrieve user data in the future to test predictive theories.


What do you think of Facebook’s ‘Celebrate Pride’ feature? To find out more, be sure to read the original article, ‘Were All Those Rainbow Profile Photos Another Facebook Study?’ featured on The Atlantic.


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