Well, its official Mardi Gras season in Sydney, with numerous business showing their pride and inclusiveness within the LGBTIQ community. Facebook along with its photo sharing app, Instagram, are also looking to take part in the celebrations and show their pride for others to share.

Facebook has worked with the Sydney Mardi Gras and LGBTIQ+ health organisation ACON, to help identify over 50 hashtags related to the parade that will trigger the new features, including #MardiGras2020, #WhatMatters, and #LoveWins.

Returning for the 2020 parade, the rainbow hashtags, which were launched for last years parade, will display an animation of a rainbow heart will appear on users’ screens every time someone shares a ‘Happy Mardi Gras’ post.

Along with this, any Instagram Stories utilising any one of the LGBTIQ+ hashtags, the ring around a user’s profile photo will become a rainbow.

ACON along with Instagram, Facebook and Trans Pride Australia have also developed a guideline to online well-being and safety for LGBTIQI people, called ‘Safe and Strong: An LGBTQ+ Guide to Facebook and Instagram’. The guidelines launched on the ACON website and outlines safety features that have been enabled across the social media platforms that can help protect and support members of the community.

Mia Garlick, head of policy for Facebook Australia, has said that:

“We’re celebrating the vibrant LGBTQ+ communities that call Facebook and Instagram home, and who use our platforms everyday to connect with their communities and support one another.

“As part of our ongoing partnership with Sydney Mardi Gras, we’re launching our ‘Your Voice Matters’ campaign to empower LGBTQ+ expression, highlight the inspiring stories of our local community, and foster safety across the platform.”

Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON, has said that:

“ACON want to make sure the social media experiences of people in our communities are positive.

“That’s why we worked with Facebook and Instagram, in partnership with Trans Pride Australia, to develop this new guide to support your wellbeing, help you stay safe, and practice self-care online. Facebook and Instagram provide great opportunities for our communities to connect with and support each other, exchange ideas, access resources and share information. We hope this guide helps in making your online experience enriching and empowering.”

The new features and campaign comes as Instagram is looking to push into a more inclusive body positivity image with its #TheWholeMe campaign, that launched in December last year.

The features are now live on both Facebook and Instagram and comes as Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras kick off the 2 week celebration with Fair Day at Victoria Park tomorrow, with the Parade set to be held along Oxford Street in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday 29th February. You can view the full list of events for this years Mardi Gras festival through the website here.