Facebook Used for Equal Rights Activism

Human Rights logo for Facebook campaign

Human Rights logo for Facebook campaign

By Sallyann Ficarrotta

Millions of Facebook users changed their profile pictures to red versions of the Human Rights Campaign logo on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 to support gay marriage.

“I believe there shouldn’t be such a thing as ‘gay’ marriage. It’s just marriage and everyone should be able to get married to whomever they want,” said avid Facebook user Jordan Gordy.

With the U.S. Supreme Court debating marriage equality at the moment, there comes a great deal of different opinions from Facebook users when they see their friends adopt the red image as their default pictures.

According to the HRC’s official website, “Facebook saw a 120 percent increase in profile photo updates on Tuesday, March 26 when compared to the previous Tuesday, which kicked off around the time we began urging followers to change their photos.”  The HRC posted the picture on its own Facebook and website asking its followers to join the cause.

“I don’t think that the amount of default pictures will affect the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said avid Facebook user and activist Elizabeth Ohling. She said, “It brought so many people closer by having an opportunity to share feelings about such an intense topic.”

Ohling said it makes her skin itch when she hears people say that Internet activism has no real impact. They say change only comes when you go out and make the change.  “Internet activism is as valid as standing in the street with a sign… especially in this age where nearly everyone is online.”

“I felt as though it was just another chain letter that would spread for the day and be forgotten about tomorrow,” said avid Facebook user Brianna Perone.  She felt as though the matter was segregating homosexuals from the rest of the population. “They’re just people.”

Perone was annoyed by her friends’ posts on the issue feeling like it wouldn’t make any difference. “They want to get married, they don’t want people to change their profile pictures, they want people to change their laws,” Perone said.

Others felt this was a great way for activists to come together and support their cause.  “I think the red equality symbol is great,” said avid Facebook user Shanelle Washington. “I’ve had at least 5 people, including my mother, inquire about what it means…and [it] encourages people to ask questions and to get to know what’s going on.”

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