More than 26 million users used Facebook’s Rainbow Profile Pictures; Are they being tracked by FB?

With more than 26 million users hooked to Facebook’s Rainbow Tool, looks like FB is tracking you

It was a historic moment for civil rights in America when the Supreme Court on Friday legalized gay marriages. To celebrate the decision, Facebook for the first time launched a free 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. The tool was designed by two Facebook interns during an internal hackathon last week.

Prominent people like Russell Simmons, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff changed their profiles.

Over the past three days, 26 million people have super imposed rainbows over their Facebook profile pictures using the free tool provided by the company. The rainbow filter that was launched on Friday continued to gain steam attracting more than half a billion likes and comments all over the world.

The Atlantic had recently posed the question of whether or not the tool was part of an experiment to perhaps allow Facebook to closely track and collect data about user activity to which a Facebook rep responded by saying, “This was not an experiment or test, but rather something that enables people to show their support of the LGBTQ community on Facebook. We aren’t going to use this as a way to target ads and the point of this tool is not to get information about people.”

Having said that, the Facebook spokesperson didn’t refuse that the social network was tracking which users support gay marriage and adding that to the database of personal information the company has on its billion users.

While that was done by users uploading photos themselves, the last time there was a big profile picture protest for gay marriage. A study was published earlier this year titled “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. There is clear evidence that Facebook is closely keeping a watch on how people use the social network to effect social and political change. If you are the type that is particular about your privacy, then clearly being tracked by Facebook might be worrying.

That does not mean that you should not give your Facebook profile the rainbow treatment, as it is a great way to celebrate a historic event. However, one should not forget that Facebook is watching as always.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


  1. psychopaths stalk people and if they are rich and powerful they do it to everyone, all the time.
    wheres the news?
    You are dumb enough to give your personal data to mr zuckerburg and his gaggle of psychopaths who are so retarded they think a rainbow filter a “hack”?
    its your own dumb fault hes stalking you.

    It is a hack , its a cheap publicity promotion,cause co-opting social hack promotion disguised as activism.

    And facebook?
    last time i looked at a profile of a facebook user i unfortunately had dealings with it was racist ,muslim baiting, homophobic, grossly irresponsible, featured a video of workplace bullying that could have ended in a death and the only reason i was there was to investigate the conman who had linked himself to a company via what looked like a managed facebook page…
    turns out facebook will let you just pick a credential from a list and claim employment…its so grossly irresponsible its untrue.
    They clean up the mess afterward and deleted all evidence of the actual fraud too which was nice for the investigators, nothing to see here.
    the user with the muslim baiting and vile homophobia is now no longer locatable.. like he never happened…
    funny cos my money is still gone …


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