Last week to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriages, Facebook launched a tool that allowed users to put a rainbow overlay on top of their profile photo to show their support and solidarity for the LGBT community. However while it might seem rather innocent, it actually might not.
The Atlantic had recently posed the question of whether or not the tool was part of an experiment to perhaps allow Facebook to better keep tabs on its users, to which a Facebook rep responded by saying, “It’s not an experiment or test. Everyone sees the same thing.” However despite that statement, some are a bit skeptical especially when you consider that in the past, Facebook has conducted experiments on its users in which many weren’t too happy about.
So if Facebook denies that this is an experiment, why do people still think that it is? Well prior to this, there was a point in time where people were changing their profile photos to the red equals sign which is basically another way of showing support to the notion of equal rights for everyone regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
While that was done by users uploading photos themselves, a study as published earlier this year called “The Diffusion of Support in an Online Social Movement”. It was written by Bogdan State who is a Stanford Ph.D. candidate and Lada Adamic, a data scientist at Facebook. Of course it could just be that we’re reading too much into it but if you’re the type that is particular about your privacy, then obviously being tracked by Facebook might be worrying.
However if you just want to show your support for the Supreme Court’s decision and have nothing to hide, we suppose experiment or not it shouldn’t really matter, right?
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