Here's Why People Are Changing Their Facebook Profile Photos To A Red Square

by Stacey Leasca

Facebook has made the world a smaller place.

It's helped families reunite, friends connect and loved ones share precious moments. And when the world collectively morns horrific events, such as the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, it is a place where many like to show their solidarity through Facebook profile filters.

But all that support is not without its downsides.

In October, following the terror attacks in Paris, which claimed the lives of 130 people, Facebook users around the globe quickly changed their profile images to include a filter of the French flag.

Many believed that by adding the red, white and blue filter, they were showing their support for France. However, some quickly pointed out that such a filter was never created for the daily attacks in war-torn nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Now, all that may be changing with #MakeFacebookRed.

The campaign, which began after the devastating airstrikes on an Aleppo pediatric hospital, has started to take off across social outlets. Its hope is to not only raise awareness for this one single event, but to also make citizens around the world stand up and take notice of the absolute carnage the people of Syria have faced since 2011.

Worldwide support could not come soon enough for the people of Syria. According to the latest numbers by the UNHCR, more than 4 million people have registered as refugees of Syria, and nearly 50 percent of Syria's total population is believed to be displaced.

So yes, if you support the people of Syria and want to help draw attention to their plight, by all means change your profile photo.

But don't stop there.

It's important to go beyond "armchair activism" and turn it into real work. As one study by the University of British Columbia found, people who are given the opportunity to share their support through social media are less likely to give real time, or real dollars, to a cause.

Kirk Kristofferson, co-author of the article, explained,

Charities incorrectly assume that connecting with people through social media always leads to more meaningful support. Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.

Don't do it to look good for others, do it for you and the people of Syria. Donate directly to the UNHCR, which is helping millions of Syrians and other displaced people around the globe, or any of these verified groups helping those in deep need around the world. 

See what it's really like to live in Syria in the video below.