People Really "Like" Coming Out On Facebook

There is a not-so-old saying that no relationship is legit until it's "Facebook official." Likewise, when it comes to sexual orientation, publicly declaring your status on the internet's largest social media network is a major milestone for a growing number of LGBT people around the world.

Engadget reports data collected by Facebook's Research and Data Science team show more than 6 million people have ever come out to Facebook friends — and it's more popular than ever. Since October 2014, roughly 800,000 users have done it, which the data scientists defined as "updating one's profile to express a same-gender attraction or specifying a custom gender."

By October 2016, that number should easily cross the 1 million mark, with an estimated three times as many people projected to come out every day on Facebook compared to the previous year.
Photo: Hans Kwiotek/Rex/REX USA
The most popular day of the year so far for coming out on Facebook? June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. On top of that, the study found more than 26 million straight- and LGBT-identified folks celebrated the landmark decision with rainbow flag-filtered profile pics.

Facebook released the data to coincide with National Coming Out Day and Spirit Day, which are designated to stand against LGBT-targeted bullying.

While social media platforms are often criticized for fostering fakery in how we present our identities and lives to the world, the Facebook data empirically showcase a silver lining to our digital sharing culture. Publicly embracing one's sexual orientation or gender identity likely bolsters self-love and acceptance, and supporting LGBT lives and causes builds allied community. And those are both things to really like, both online and IRL.
Advertisement

More from Tech

Watch

R29 Original Series