In the wake of last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, France, Facebook (META) quickly rolled out a feature allowing its users to overlay an opaque French flag over their profile photos as a way to show support for the nation and its people. Many users have opted to use the filter, which they can set to expire after a day, a week or forever, and many are now complaining that they’re unable to remove it.
The French flag photo overlay has prompted debate over how to show support for a nation in the aftermath of tragedy, as the flag has come to represent everything from solidarity with France to unjust wars. Some, like Lulu Nunn in an op-ed for The Independent, have called it “problematic” and have compared its use to the white supremacy argument used to justify the US invasion of Iraq.
Others have complained that the Facebook filter wasn’t available after the airstrikes in Syria, or that it only shows support for France and not other nations, such as Mali, that have also been targeted by terrorist attacks in recent weeks. Some have also pointed out that there’s already a similar option for showing support in the form of a pink profile filter for Planned Parenthood, which was widely used to back the women’s health organisation following allegations it sold fetal tissue.
If you want to remove the overlay from your profile picture, you’ll need to access your profile page and click on the camera icon next to your photo. This will take you to an edit screen where you can select one of your older photos or a new image.