RIP the static profile pic. Facebook has reincarnated the highlight/lowlight (depending on your tolerance for flashy things on the internet) of early 2000s’ social media: animated profile pics are back.
Such avatars, which became all to common to the MySpace generation through liberal use of animated gifs, have largely been absent in subsequent social networks even as the file format has undergone a resurgence.
But Facebook’s new profile videos – several seconds of video which is essentially 2015’s equivalent of an animated gif – can be uploaded from the Facebook iPhone app to annoy delight everyone.
Once recorded and uploaded they’ll only animate if someone visits your profile, not in everyone’s newsfeed – yet.
“Profile videos will let [you] show a part of yourself you couldn’t before, and add a new dimension to your profile,” said Facebook in a blog post announcing the change.
Profile photos can also be set as temporary images for certain events, reverting back to your standard pouty smizing face once the World Cup, or whatever else has proved cause for a novelty overlay, has ended.
“It can be a visual status update to let your friends know what’s going on in your life today, or it can be your statement of solidarity for a cause you feel strongly about,” said Facebook. Cue painted faces and flags.
Both profile photos and videos are now bigger and centred on the page making them harder to ignore.
The new profile videos can only be uploaded via the Facebook app for iPhones, and only for users in the UK and California for now. Despite being exclusive to Apple’s iOS at the moment, Apple’s new Live Photos aren’t supported.
Facebook profiles also now have a small space just under the action buttons for people to write whatever they like, just like Twitter’s bios. Emojis, words, missives or an actual biography are all welcome, as are up to five featured photos.
Anyone who can see your profile on Facebook will be able to see the new bio space. Other information on your profile can be shown or not based on extensive criteria around friends, friends of friends, public and so on.
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