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Facebook Releases Map Of Marriage Equality Support

11:39 AM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS) -- This week, the U.S. Supreme Court met to hear two landmark cases that could decide how we define marriage in America.

While the court listened to the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, the social media world went red with Facebook profile pictures that showed support for same-sex marriages.

The red squares with a floating pink equal sign began to appear on Facebook when the Human Rights Campaign began to urge people on Monday to change their profile pictures.

On Friday, the social network released data showing just how many people joined the campaign.

Facebook reported that by Tuesday, about 2.7 million people changed their profile picture at around the time the HRC began prompting supporters. That number is a 120 percent increase from the previous Tuesday. While it does not show that each person changed their picture to the pink-on-red equal sign, the trend suggests that a significant amount of users showed support for marriage equality.

The data also suggests that those closest to 30 years old had the greatest amount of profile updates.

In terms of geography, the most active county was Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor, Mich. -- home to the University of Michigan. The top 25 counties were also home to colleges.

Big cities like San Francisco and Washington D.C. ranked highly, but Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City showed only a slight increase.

The data was collected by researchers on the Facebook Data Science Team. It's not just Facebook that supports same-sex marriage.

A recent poll showed that 60 percent of Americans think the federal government should legally recognize existing same-sex marriages and provide them the same federal benefits the government provides to heterosexual married couples. Just 35 percent do not think the government should do this.

Editors note: This article was updated to reflect that the University of Michigan is in Washtenaw County, not Michigan State University.

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