The Facebook red equal sign meme that took over profiles this week on the social network seemed to be everywhere — many users even complained that with all the users changing avatars, it rapidly became difficult to discern who was who.
But as the Facebook red equal sign trend (and its inevitable parodies) persisted, many wondered just how pervasive the practice was — or if it was an instance of political “bubbles.” Facebook itself weighed in on the phenomenon kicked off by the Human Rights Campaign, in a post titled “Showing Support for Marriage Equality on Facebook.”
In the note slicing and dicing the Facebook red equal sign numbers, Facebook employee Eytan Bakshy (Notes) begins:
“The U.S. Supreme Court this week met to begin debating the future of same-sex marriage in the United States. To accompany this historic event, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) started urging people on Monday, March 25 to change their Facebook profile pictures to a pink-on-red equal sign to show support for marriage equality. Since then, we’ve noticed a surge in people changing their profile photos to various versions of this image.”
Beneath that, Facebook displayed the above image, not only of the Facebook red equal sign, but also some of the more popular variations and parodies of it.
The whole post really drills down on not only who changed their Facebook avatar photo to a red equal sign, but also the demographics — age, location, and the timing of the change.
People close to the age of thirty were most likely to adopt the Facebook red equal sign, and slightly more females than males participated.
But in summation, Facebook seems to agree with what many users expressed about the Facebook red equal sign trend:
“For a long time, when people stood up for a cause and weren’t all physically standing shoulder to shoulder, the size of their impact wasn’t immediately apparent.”