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Facebook refines profiles with temporary photos and videos for mobile

The world's largest social network is changing the way profiles are shown on mobile devices by incorporating videos and photos that are displayed for a limited time.

Facebook is offering new features for its app on mobile devices. Facebook

Want to celebrate gay pride by adding rainbow colors to your Facebook profile photo? You'll soon be able to do that easily.

Facebook is updating how it handles profile photos for the roughly 1 billion people who use its social-networking service each day, letting those who use its mobile app designate temporary photos or videos for their profile images. The company said Wednesday that this project, which will start as a test for users in the UK and California, is designed to let users more easily express themselves.

Football fans who like the New England Patriots, for example, could celebrate a win by making the team's logo their profile image for a week. (Or perhaps rivals could put up images of deflated footballs?) A person on vacation could post a picture of himself in a hammock during his week off.

Facebook's mobile users will be able to add videos and temporary photos to their profiles. Facebook

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook didn't say when the changes would be widely available but said the project is focusing on users of Apple's iPhone for now.

The move to change the way Facebook displays profiles on mobile devices is part of the social network's effort to expand interest in its mobile apps as mobile has become one of the fastest-growing areas in the tech industry. Though the computer industry has struggled to grow in recent years, shipments of smartphones continue to rise, jumping almost 29 percent to more than 1.2 billion units last year. That continued strength has helped make companies like Apple and Samsung among the largest in the world.

It's also remade the business of companies like Facebook, which derived more than 76 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile devices in the three months ended in June.

Part of Facebook's success on mobile has come from efforts to make its app for mobile devices both faster and less data hungry . The company has also added new features, such as news articles that download quickly.

Facebook said it was inspired to modify its display after many users changed their profile photos in response to the US Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized gay marriage. Facebook created a special program called Celebrate Pride to help facilitate the changing of profile images, but it realized it needed to do more.

"When more than 26 million people used our Celebrate Pride filter, it was more apparent than ever that people use their profile picture to show who they are -- even if it's just for a moment in time," the company said in a blog post.

Facebook will also change the order of how information is displayed in profiles, letting people choose which photos visitors see first, for example. Users will be able add a one-line bio as well.