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.

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