Skip to main content

Facebook finally features a woman in front in its friends icon

why one facebook design manager finally changed the friends icon to feature a woman screen shot 2015 07 08 at 5 21 15 pm
Facebook
It’s often the subtle sexism against women in technology that’s the most problematic and the most difficult to address, but one small change at Facebook may be more meaningful than it seems. On Tuesday, Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, wrote a Medium post about how she changed the friends icon to prominently feature a woman, and perhaps more importantly, why she did it.

The motivation for Winner’s proactive edit to the famous icon came early on during her time at the social media company when she noticed a literal chip on the female icon’s shoulder. She wrote of the images, “There in the middle of the photoshop file were two vectors that represented people. The iconic man was symmetrical except for his spiked hairdo but the lady had a chip in her shoulder. After a little sleuthing I determined that the chip was positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her, as in the ‘friends’ icon, above.” Indeed, the slight deformity in the quintessential Facebook woman was a product of being hidden by her seemingly more important male counterpart.

This, Winner decided, just wouldn’t do. She noted, “As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in.” So she decided to make a change. She started with a “double silhouette, two people of equal sizes without a hard line indicating who was in front,” but ultimately decided against the “two headed mythical beast” approach.

When she went through another iteration, she decided to do something that is, sadly, rather revolutionary. She put the woman in front. It’s a small change, sure — it may not even be one that many people notice. But what it symbolizes should be a harbinger for change that desperately needs to come.

“As a result of this project, I’m on high alert for symbolism,” Winner continues. “I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar.” Because what is familiar in tech — and in much of the workforce — is no longer acceptable.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use GIFs.com for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more
I paid Meta to ‘verify’ me — here’s what actually happened
An Instagram profile on an iPhone.

In the fall of 2023 I decided to do a little experiment in the height of the “blue check” hysteria. Twitter had shifted from verifying accounts based (more or less) on merit or importance and instead would let users pay for a blue checkmark. That obviously went (and still goes) badly. Meanwhile, Meta opened its own verification service earlier in the year, called Meta Verified.

Mostly aimed at “creators,” Meta Verified costs $15 a month and helps you “establish your account authenticity and help[s] your community know it’s the real us with a verified badge." It also gives you “proactive account protection” to help fight impersonation by (in part) requiring you to use two-factor authentication. You’ll also get direct account support “from a real person,” and exclusive features like stickers and stars.

Read more
Here’s how to delete your YouTube account on any device
How to delete your YouTube account

Wanting to get out of the YouTube business? If you want to delete your YouTube account, all you need to do is go to your YouTube Studio page, go to the Advanced Settings, and follow the section that will guide you to permanently delete your account. If you need help with these steps, or want to do so on a platform that isn't your computer, you can follow the steps below.

Note that the following steps will delete your YouTube channel, not your associated Google account.

Read more