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Facebook Announces Seven Second Animated Profile Pictures

September 30, 2015 - Written By Debarshi Nayak

Facebook is about to give the profile picture a huge facelift as it attempts to make the profile more dynamic, introducing a bevy of mobile-friendly changes. As Facebook likes to call it, profile videos are soon going to be a common feature on the profile page. This change is a natural step in the evolution of profile picture as Facebook looks to keep the decade-old social network active, exciting, and new. The social networking company announced on Wednesday that they will let users set short looping video clips for their profile picture. This feature is already deployed as a closed beta among some iPhone users in the U.K. and California, and will be released to the public ‘soon’. Facebook has not provided a date of the roll-out, and best guesses are that it will gradually roll out to various parts of the world.

This video clip can be described as a Vine or GIF, and will be designed to improve the user’s ability to express their personality, likes and dislikes through a profile video. This video will only be playable from the profile page. It will not show up in the news feed, and instead, a frame the user chooses will be the static avatar serving as the profile picture for all intents and purposes. The audio only plays when the video is in full-screen and won’t start playing automatically when the profile is opened, saving a lot of people a headache. The omission of profile videos also prevents the news feed from slowing down from preloading too many looping videos, which might cause some serious problems and crashes. One significant point to note is that the video on a loop can be maximum seven seconds long as per Facebook, and no longer than that.

To do this once you get the get the feature, you need to visit your profile page and select “Take a New Profile Video” in the avatar section. You can also use saved videos, but it has to be trimmed to seven seconds or less using the trimmer provided by Facebook. And then, you need to upload it and then select a thumbnail from the video as your profile picture in the news feed, that will also show up in messaging and comments. After selecting save, the new changes will show up. Facebook has brought about some other changes, including the ability a biography with emoji support, integrating temporary profile picture change without user intervention, and moving the profile picture to the top center in smartphones for better visibility. They have also improved profile’s privacy setting, now letting you choose more accurately what you want to be available to the public.

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