FACEBOOK GIVES MARDI GRAS THE THUMBS UP

FACEBOOK GIVES MARDI GRAS THE THUMBS UP

ONE of the world's most recognised brands has aligned with Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrations, coming out as a major sponsor of the famous parade.

Social media giant Facebook, which also acquired Instagram in 2013, will be promoting the festival on both platforms and will enter a float in the parade, which takes place on Saturday 5 March.

CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Michele Bauer says she could not be happier with the new partnership.

"This is not just because of its size or reach, although those are wonderful benefits, but because of Facebook's commitment to campaigns that spread messages of social justice," she says.

"Mardi Gras at its core is about social justice.  We look forward to working with Facebook on spreading those messages along with all of our messages of celebration and fabulousness in true Mardi Gras style."

Facebook takes part in pride parades in the US and also allowed people to put rainbow filters over their profile pictures when gay marriage laws were being passed across the world.

Mia Garlick, director of policy in Australia and New Zealand for both Facebook and Instagram, says it is important for Facebook to not only showcase support for the event, but also showcase how platforms allow people to connect and share around what matters most to the LGBTIQ community.

"Amongst the 14 million Australians who regularly use Facebook, the topic of marriage equality was one of the top 15 most mentioned topics on the site in 2015 - and around the world, more than 26 million people added a rainbow pride filter to their profile pictures," she says.

"We are honoured to be a major sponsor of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras."

Pink Media Group, on behalf of Sydney Mardi Gras, created the partnership.

Managing director Ben Mulcahy says it's wonderful to have the world's largest social media platform supporting the country's largest LGBTIQ pride festival.

"Like all Australians, LGBTIQ people have had their lives revolutionised by social media over the past decade," he says.

"It has helped build and connect the community like never before. Facebook's partnership is more than just an opportunity to get their brand in front of 250,000 spectators at the parade: it's a great reminder of the power of social media and social movements to change lives."

In 2016 the Mardi Gras festival is expected to attract more than 500,000 people between 19 February and 6 March, including 30,000 international visitors and injecting $30 million into the NSW economy.

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