Why Facebook changed its friends icon

You’d have to base it on context, but actually the symbolism often is associated with being in someone’s protection - but in a way that is dependent on them, because the person is unable to protect themselves. The symbolism of complete encompassing in shadows in general usually implies a lack of control over ones own fate - someone using the symbol just for protection without that implication will often have part of the shadowed person’s body clearly breaking the boundaries of the shadow.


But there is no shadow on the icon at all - just a silhouette. How did the shadow thing got crammed in there?

If it is a silhouette, can it be implied that the light goes from the background, and the person in front is in the shadow of the person in the back?

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I am shocked!

Did you jump in the middle of the conversation chain here? I was talking about the concept of being in another person’s shadow in general, which asdadsas clearly didn’t understand, since he felt that a person standing behind another person while standing taller than them could still be “shadowed” in this way.

But yes, in simple stylistic imagery, having one figure smaller and slightly behind another figure is often used to convey the sense of being shadowed, carrying much of the same symbolic impact since it is clearly conveying the person in back could be shadowed. It would obviously be a lot worse if the person in back actually was visually shadowed. which I agree it is not here.

…no. No it cannot. This is exactly what I just explained, in depth. The larger figure could not be considered as shadowed no matter how the light cast. In the remade image, the heights are similar enough that neither could actually shadow the other.

If the person had been in front, the imagery would have been more a paternal than shadowing relationship, since they are both facing the camera (from all appearances) and shadowing imagery pretty much requires the shadowed to be “in back” of the other person to convey what we’re talking about here. If the one casting the shadow is looking at the person being shadowed it conveys something entirely different.

To repeat what I said earlier:


I know that this change seems so insignificant, but it’s one I’m really happy for. I know there’s people that can explain it better then I can, but having equality in presentation will help us get over the “default dude” syndrome that a ton of design seems to overlook.

It’s very surprising to see how many people will question what right does the female avatar has to take the lead role instead of asking why the male figure is usually default? The less we use the default dude, the better and inclusive we can make the web.


Are We the Unenlightened expected to have to understand this without having a degree in symbolism?

No, this is actually something most people understand pretty well, since the symbolism used is actually really constant and consistent. It just requires a bit of common knowledge, though obviously not everyone possesses all common knowledge and it’s okay if you didn’t know about it.


This is the right answer, but unfortunately, it looks too closely too MSN Live’s icon. (Which could put Facebook into Legal trouble) Likewise, the Blue blackdrop and the bust silhouette is what the company uses as one of their trademarks and needs to be incorporated into their “people” design.

Overall a good start, but it needs to look more human to be “Facebook” and not “MSN People”.

I just googled up a generic icon, so this would not work for Facebook as is, but there are a lot of similar designs - a circle head and a peg shaped body - which are readily identified as people but gender neutral. They’d just need to mod it enough to make it uniquely Facebook.


Don’t mind him. He’s got a chip on his shoulder about social justice in general. He’s expressed concerns about why women have to invade his things and make him think about stuff he doesn’t care about.

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That would be silly. Assuming that was true, why would someone make themselves look intentionally ignorant on the issue? How would that help, when it only serves to rob his own posts of any impact or legitimacy?

You’re being genuine in this conversation, right? You’re not just facetiously casting yourself as ignorant and out of touch for some… nefarious purpose I can’t imagine?

Now he’s a sinister puppetmaster.

So his comment about a “black lesbian” was made with wholesome and genuine intent?


I’m more in favor of giving people the benefit of the doubt at first, But I agree with you, it’s very unlikely someone would bring this up completely out of context unless it was to be on the ridicule side of facetiousness.

Edit: I didn’t know the user in question was a troll for a long while, If I could, I would strike-though my original comment here.

It is not so much that I am surprised that they exist, but rather that so many people internalise social models that they seem to know aren’t realistic or healthy. So it’s often a case of: “Sure… we could assume that. But why would we?” I tend to be more trusting of ideas that have been tested by those who use them.

Me monocle’s stuck in the wall!


Well, I would be to but “at first” was about six months ago. This is hardly the first thread on these sorts of issues here and it is mostly the same players every time.


Joke’s on you, Facebook! In my mind I was always looking at the backs of their heads.


wait…is this a koan from the guy who is reading in chinese now? :slight_smile:


FINALLY…facebook updated the icon to more accurately represent facebook. See ladies, there is some creepy guy following you. (j/k)


Since Facebook knows about you, why not have a male icon if you’re a male and a female icon if you’re female? Why not have a group of two men or two women or a man and a woman if you’re married. Why not have an androgynous silhouette if you are asexual?

Then nobody can be offended.