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Marriage Equality, Facebook Profile Pictures, and Civic Participation


Robards, B and Buttigieg, B, Marriage Equality, Facebook Profile Pictures, and Civic Participation, Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice, MIT Press, E Gordon and P Milhailidis (ed), United States, pp. 131-137. ISBN 9780262034272 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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On March 25, 2013, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)-a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) lobby-urged people to change their Facebook profile pictures to a pink-on-red equals sign to show support for marriage equality (see figure 6.1). The campaign corresponded with a U.S. Supreme Court meeting to debate the issue. Shortly after, on March 30, Eytan Bashky (2013) from the Facebook data science team reported that "roughly 2.7 million (120%) more [users], updated their profile photo on Tuesday, March 26, compared to the previous Tuesday," which was roughly attributed to the HRC push. The campaign to change Facebook profile pictures spread to become a global phenomenon. Variations on the HRC profile picture emerged, some in support of the campaign, others opposing it, and others critiquing the impact changing one's profile picture can have. In this case study, we explore the campaign through the lens of the "actualizing citizen" (Miegel and Olsson 2007) and discourses around "slacktivism" (Christensen 2011).

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Communication technology and digital media studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:Robards, B (Dr Brady Robards)
ID Code:111123
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2016-08-31
Last Modified:2018-02-17

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