You can now have a video as your Facebook profile picture

It's all gone a bit Harry Potter

Have you updated the Facebook app on your iPhone yet today? If not, then get on that ASAP because things have changed and it’s a Facebook like you’ve never seen before. Okay, not really, but there are a few new features that are pretty nifty.

The biggest change is that your profile pictures can now be — wait for it — videos! That’s right, you can now present yourself to the Facebook universe as a short looping video icon of up to seven seconds in duration, similar to a Vine. Instead of having your friend’s profile pic be just a still shot of him kissing his boyfriend, you can now watch them passionately make out in a little blue square. Thankfully (and somewhat surprisingly, for Facebook), they don’t autoplay – you have to choose to watch the video, which is a very good thing. Dear lord, that would be annoying.

Image: Facebook

However, a bit of a downside to that is that on web (at least for now), your picture will be a still of the video. You can choose it yourself, but it’s surprisingly hard to find a flattering still from a video. Here’s The Next Web Editor Martin Bryant‘s:

Image: Martin Bryant

But it’s not all about the profile videos. Facebook has made a few tweaks to profile pictures as well. Due to the overwhelming amount of people who used their recent “Celebrate Pride” filter to display their support for gay marriage (yay!), they realised that profile pictures are not just “static portraits,” but a means by which people express their personalities and beliefs.

As a result, you now have the option to set up a temporary profile picture for a specified amount of time, after which point it’ll go back to your original one. This way, if you want to “support your team in the week leading up to the big game, commemorate a special milestone like a birthday or vacation or show off a great #tbt picture,” you can do so without having to go through the fuss of changing profile pics again once the celebration’s over. Phew.

There’s also a Snapchat-esque option to add text within Facebook:

Image: Facebook

Also, did I mention that your new profile photo-video will shift smackdab to the middle of your page, and they’ll be bigger than before? Because yep.

Apart from the profile photos-videos, there’s also a change in how your page will look to anyone who looks you up, may they be friend, foe, or future partner. There’s now a small space at the top of the profile that you can customise to choose what you want people to be able to see. For instance, you can select the visibility (or lack thereof) of your work details, education, hometown, and so on. There’s also a Twitter-style “Bio” field where you can put in a witty one-liner. And because we know how important first impressions are, you can choose up to five Tinder-style “Featured Photos” to display in this space. Facebook’s inspirations are pretty clear, but cribbing useful features from other social networks is no bad thing.

Image: Facebook

Lastly, your photos and friends have been moved to the top of your page. This means that when you make a new friend, they can excitedly snoop through your pictures and mutual friends (And vice versa! Come on, we all do it) to get a better sense of who you are. After all, you’re not really friends unless you’re Facebook friends.

The changes are available now on iPhones in the UK and Canada, and should roll out to everyone else soon. If you’re one of the lucky few, get updating and live your Harry Potter dreams today.


Main image: Facebook