Together with my supervisor Hilde Coffé, I’ve done some research into people changing their profile picture as part of coordinated campaigns, and as a form of political action. We were interested in finding out who changed their profile picture, and why they were motivated to do so.
The title of the paper is “Changing Facebook Profile Pictures as Part of a Campaign: Who Does it and Why?”, and it’s published in the Journal of Youth Studies. You can also have a look at a conference presentation about the research here (PDF).
Examples of campaigns:
Note: I don’t own the copyright to any of these images!
Labour leadership election 2014
New Zealand general election 2014
Marriage equality campaign
Further reading online
Showing Support for Marriage Equality on Facebook – Facebook Data Science (March 2013)
- Green vs Pink: Change Your Picture Change the World – MIT Centre for Civic Media (March 2013)
The Unequal Adoption of Equal Signs – Facebook Data Science (December 2013)
11 Times Everyone on Facebook Changed Their Profile Pictures – Mashable (January 2014)
- In Defense of “Slacktivism”: The Human Rights Campaign Facebook Logo as Digital Activism – First Monday (April 2014)
- Facebook tests temporary profile pictures for supporting causes – The Verge (September 2015)
- Facebook campaign ‘bargain advertising’ for Kiwibank – Stuff.co.nz (February 2019)
Last updated February 2019