Facebook uses different notification icons depending on where you live

But what about Australia?


Taylor Hatmaker


Published Jul 31, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 8:44 pm CDT

Facebook is well known for rolling out subtle changes, and this is one you may not have noticed. Depending on what part of the globe you log in from, the website customizes the notification icon to make you feel right at home.

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That’s me, logged in from the U.S. Considering that Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California, right in the swarming hornet’s nest of tech industry myopia, it’s almost surprising to see the West Coast treated so modestly. We can’t even see a single pretentious barista doing a precision pour-over from here.

For a flipped world view, our own James Cook treats us to this stunning, 2D micro-vista from across the globe. Beautiful, isn’t it? 

The globe icon on Facebook is turned to the other side of the planet in Hong Kong: pic.twitter.com/q7ybzenXJ0

— Iris (@pixeliris) March 5, 2013

As far as we can tell, that’s the whole world according to Facebook. When we played around with a VPN and looked into matters a bit, we only came up with two options, the top icon where the focal bit is North America and South America and the other with Europe and Asia. As for Australia, well, Facebook’s 12 million Australian users don’t appear to have the geo-specific red carpet rolled out for them in quite the same way. 

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Sorry, Oceania, but you’re not the only region stricken from the record. Antarctica boasts fewer than 5,000 residents in peak season, and they probably have better things to do than log into Facebook (presumably research and penguins and stuff). We’re not altogether mad to see so little representation for the planet’s least habitable continent but that doesn’t mean that we’re not disappointed.

The buttons aren’t new, but they have been redesigned since the 2010-2011 era to make the continents look more like, you know, continents. Or the ones that matter anyway. The varying notification icons, while totally inconsequential, are just one tiny example of the design subtleties that Facebook plays around with at any given time. Let us know if you spot any other ones… or if you run across Australia. We can’t seem to remember where we set it down.

H/T TechInAsia | Illustration via Facebook

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2014, 1:15 pm CDT