Posted by Mark Grainger 25 Sep 2015

Get behind a cause with Facebook

Facebook users love to get behind a worthy cause. Whether they’re creating videos to support causes like the ice bucket challenge, sharing petitions and donation links or uploading special selfies, Facebook clicktivism is an increasingly big part of the social media experience.

The most recent big trend has seen users altering their profile images to support specific causes, such as the push for LGBT equality. To show their support, 26 million of Facebook’s users put a special rainbow filter on their profile picture. Whilst it was undoubtedly a beautiful gesture of solidarity, a sea of rainbow profile pictures actually made it incredibly hard to differentiate your friends on the newsfeed.

Possibly even worse is that a few people have kept the rainbow image despite the campaign ending months ago, which is just slightly socially awkward given how it was for a special campaign.

Now though Facebook is seeking to provide better control over these campaigns, testing a system that allows specialist avatars to be enabled for a fixed period of time. What this means in real terms is that the lazier people amongst your fiend group won’t be sporting a badge supporting a movement or event that has long since passed.

Once the set expiration date arrives the profile picture will revert to the previous image, without the usual announcement posts on your friends’ news feeds, meaning that nobody suffers the indignity of being behind the times.

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing the feature and, along with the Dislike button that’s in development, it shows that the social media giant is really looking to its users to inform its future. Whether or not a sea of identically styled photos will actually make the service harder to use remains to be seen.