Last month your Facebook friend list was likely flooded with rainbows after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage.
Aside from this historic court ruling, Facebook was flooded with people showing their rainbow coloured support for marriage equality. In three days the app that made it possible was used by 26 million Facebook users – more than the entire population of Australia. Developed by two interns during an internal hackathon the week before the Supreme Court decision, the app overlays your profile pic with a rainbow in one click.
What do the social media experts say?
This is the first time Facebook has developed an app specifically designed to allow users to show support of a political nature. It’s not the first time other companies have used profile pictures to show campaign support though – many have. At aasman we used the tactic during our “Am I the Solution?” campaign, allowing Yukoners to show their support for ending violence again women and girls. Evidence of profile picture campaign effectiveness is largely unavailable though, which goes to show that the idea of “social media experts” remains a myth – even Facebook is experimenting everyday! Even if it sounds like an oxymoron, I believe that those of us in the business of social media are actually expert experimentalists.
What’s the unexpected controversy?
Speaking of experimentation, many people have been asking what Facebook is doing with the data they're collecting from this app. Facebook states firmly that the app is not collecting data for the purpose of targeting ads or political campaigning. But of course they are tracking it, so we can’t help asking ourselves, what might Facebook do with this data? What positive outcomes? What negative ones? How does it affect our participation in publically showing our colours?