In late March 2013, there was an influx of people changing their profile pictures to an red equality sign—social media’s show of support for marriage equality.
The Human Rights Campaign were the ones who created the picture in order to demonstrate support for equal marriage, but as the logo spread, so did its original form. The sign took on many different adaptations as people made their own versions of it. According to Facebook, there ended up being at least eight hundred variations on the red equality sign.
Following up on their previous survey, which estimated that over three million Facebook users who became involved in the project, Facebook decided to delve even further, looking into the density of signs in each area of the United States and worldwide.
They did not just search for the sign in its original form; they also used a machine to classify pictures uploaded in that period that resembled equal signs. The results showed that 2.77 million users changing their profile were in the US, making it predominantly an American movement.
Other countries that got involved were Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK.
Facebook was able to focus its findings distinguishing differences from city to city throughout the US of people’s use of the equal sign. The picture above shows the outcome of their survey.
The map suggested a majority of users in the East and West Coasts and the Great Lakes region were using the picture, as opposed to the minimal changes in the South and the Great Plains.
However, some areas adopting the sign were unexpectedly high in number—strong red marks signify dense usage of the sign, compared to its surrounding light orange, signifying minimal usage.
Many cities were divided, such as Chicago; the northern areas of the city had higher usage rates than the southern areas. New York also suffered divided areas of support and no support.
San Francisco, however, showed a united front with extremely popular use of the equal sign around the Bay Area. On the survey map, the entire city is a dense red color, and the surrounding bay is similar, only slightly easing up further south.
More statistics from Facebook’s survey can be found here.