Changing Facebook profile pictures as part of a campaign: Who does it and why?

Harry Chapman, Hilde Coffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


People changing their Facebook profile picture in support of social and political campaigns has recently become relatively common, particularly among young people. The current study presents an analysis of young people who change their profile picture and their motivations to do so. Using original data collected among less than 35 years old Facebook users (N = 267), we find that besides the intensity of Facebook use, offline engagement in protest and boycotts has a significant and positive effect on the likelihood to change one's profile picture as part of a campaign. Hence, the opportunity for Facebook users to engage in politics by changing a profile picture to support a campaign seems to be seized more often by young people who are politically engaged offline than by those who are not. Among those who change their profile picture, raising awareness seems to be the primary motivation to do so. Identity formation is also a crucial motivation, in particular for profile pictures changes to support a political party and the marriage equality campaign.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-500
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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