Why are so many people suddenly coming out on Facebook?
According to a new Facebook report, more people than ever are coming out as gay on the social media site.
Facebook counted for a number of changes in their study: updating their attraction to the same or both genders, announcing a new same-sex relationship, or redefining their gender identity. (In February 2014, Facebook launched a feature that permits custom gender identifiers, no longer limiting users to identify themselves only as either male or female.)
"Over the past year, approximately 800,000 Americans updated their profile to express a same-gender attraction or custom gender," Facebook said in a statement. "Further, not only has the total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook risen dramatically, but so has the number coming out each day."
Facebook published a chart in their statement that suggests the number of people coming out on Facebook per day is set to triple what it was only one year ago.
So why all the profile updates?
Part of the growth is just a side effect of more site users, but it also a manifestation of a cultural shift, says Facebook.
"While this figure may be somewhat conflated by growth in the number of people on Facebook, the sheer magnitude of this increase suggests that the LGBT movement has made significant strides in recent years," Facebook said in a statement.
Instead, the social media site says there is a direct correlation between the Supreme Court case Obergefell v Hodges on June 26, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, and a spike in Facebook profile updates.
While the social media network typically sees one out of every 10 users change their relationship or gender status to LGBT oriented during the course of a day, this statistic doubled – to one in every five users – on the day of the Supreme Court ruling.
"Facebook's research is proving just what a difference visibility makes to LGBT people," said Jay Brown, director of research and public education at Human Rights Campaign Foundation to CBS News. "In a year that's seen unprecedented coverage of LGBT people – from major coming out moments to Supreme Court victories to tragedies shaking the community – we see people becoming visible in their own lives."
According to the report, "likes" and "follows" of LGBT-supported pages and profiles has also increased. Facebook predicts that the number of LGBT fans has increased by 25 percent in the past year.
After the Supreme Court ruling was announced earlier this year, Facebook posted a response in support:
"Approximately 70 percent of people on Facebook in the US are connected to a friend who has expressly identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual on their timeline. #PrideConnectsUs" http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2015/1018/Why-are-so-many-peo etc ...