I don’t know about you, but there are still quite a few rainbow profile pics in my Facebook feed. It’s a feature Facebook made quite automated and easy to do — and you can expect to see a lot more of that in the future.
With just a few clicks, Facebook users were able to tinge their profile pic with a rainbow as a show of support for gay rights. The unmitigated success of the feature made veritable rainbows of all of our Facebook feeds. It’s this phenomenon, and the green tinge of the Arab Spring, that is inspiring Facebook to make this more of a regular occurrence.
We probably should have seen this coming — Facebook is always thinking of ways to get you to share more, post more, disclose more, capture more, and buy more. No, Facebook, I don’t want to post to all my friends that I’ve been friends with my friend for as long as we’ve been friends.
But there’s a awkward social conundrum surrounding the support of different groups in your profile pic: When do you switch it back to normal? One could feel that reverting back is somehow withdrawing support, in a better-than-nothing-but-I-could-be-doing-more kind of way.
That’s why the new feature will allow you to set a specified time limit – indeed, the feature is named “temporary profile pics” – which somewhat normalises the switch back to your best vanity shot from the last three years. The image will remain in your album of profile pics so everyone knows how good a person you are, and no news story will be published when the picture reverts.
As TechCrunch reports, Facebook is currently testing the feature with a small number of users and plans to roll it out to everyone later. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the feature will also be broader than just social issues:
We often see people use their profile pictures to support a cause, root for a team, and commemorate milestones like birthdays and anniversaries.
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