I'm having problems uploading a PNG file to the web. The problem is that it distorts the color of the image. The image is a trademark and uses a PANTONE color. I think this could be the problem because the distortion affects only this color alone.

I have tried saving it for normally, for web, in multiple formats (JPG, PNG, GIF) Always the same exact result: color distortion.

So, how can I upload this image without having to change the color?

EDIT: Here's a link to the image because I don't have enough rep to publish any image yet:


EDIT 2: OK, it seems that the problem is Facebook, which is the place I'm trying to upload this trademark, because I uploaded this to ImageShack and it shows correctly.

Any advice on how to fix it?

  • 1
    Sounds like the problem is not when you're uploading it, can you clarify what you're comparing the "faulty" PNG against - a Photoshop file, EPS, PNG viewed in Photoshop?
    – e100
    Jun 9, 2011 at 11:40
  • 1
    You should upload it to FB, take a screenshot with the "Print Screen," "Prt Scr," etc. button on your keyboard, paste it into photoshop/GIMP/etc, save it, and then upload it to imageshack to show us what exactly is going wrong.
    – Michael
    Jun 9, 2011 at 18:34
  • i suggest you to discus this on FB forums its not at all related to png image or anything graphically its just FACEBOOK....
    – Jack
    Jun 10, 2011 at 13:10
  • 1
    and check this too scottwyden.com/facebooks-photo-upload-compression/#.TfIZi1tg9kp
    – Jack
    Jun 10, 2011 at 13:22
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Facebook: Ways to preserve image quality of uploaded images?
    – Cai
    May 8, 2017 at 7:00

4 Answers 4


In short

Facebook compresses and changes the colour profile of your images. The resulting image most of the time is distorted and the colours are inconsistent across browsers.

The problem

Facebook's interface is heavy with images: thumbnails, albums, cover photos, profiles, lolcats. In order to keep the total weight of the page under control, Facebook "optimizes" (i.e. compresses) every image you upload. It also replaces your original colour profile (even if it is sRGB) with a specially crafted one.

The reason for the replacement of the profile is the same as the reason for compressing: to reduce the size of the image.

The Facebook developers want the images to look good. There are too many colour geeks (like us) in the world. The developers know that in order to make the colours render properly they need to embed the colour profile in every image: some browsers will go nuts and get very creative with their palette if you don't tell them explicitly what colour profile to use.

They noticed, though, that if they embedded the original sRGB profile in every single image, including thumbnails, the total weight of the page was going to be way too high. Consider that the original full fledged sRGB profile description would add ~3KB overhead to every image. So, in order to save some bytes, they crafted a special version of the sRGB profile that results in smaller overheads than the original one (~524B instead of ~3KB). Read more here.

Every image you upload gets modified to use this profile. Supposedly their version of the sRGB profile (which they call TinySRGB) should render the same results than its grandfather version. Unfortunately not every browser handles custom embedded profiles as gracefully resulting in discrepancies. Apparently they also forgot to apply the profile to some of the images (as you can see reading the comments on the developer's blog entry linked above) so the colours across Facebook might also be inconsistent.

The (non existent) solution

Unfortunately there seems to be no definitive solution for this problem. There are some heuristics I suggest in order to try to circumvent the problem

  • Be sneaky. Keep you images as small as possible to try and discourage Facebook's compression.
  • Keep surprises to a minimum. Try to find Facebook's ICC profile and use it as part of your workflow so at least you can see how the image will look before you save it. I failed on trying to find it, though. The links I found were dead. If you do find it, please share!
  • Give up. Accept that, like other media, Facebook uses their own colour space. We cannot change that, the same way we cannot change the whole print industry to use a wider colour space than CMYK. In a similar way that CMYK sucks at rendering fresh greens because the C ink is so weak, Facebook sucks at rendering certain hues. They seem to be reddish hues most of the time. Accept that there will be a colour shift and work with it in mind.

Final comment

The Facebook team changes their application whenever they feel the need to change it. And they should, since it is theirs to change. Although it does not make it less annoying, maybe we should keep it in mind and adjust our expectations accordingly.

You might wake up one morning and discover that, after Facebook rolled out their latest update, your grandma is giving thumbs up to the pictures of your latest crazy party, even when you carefully crafted your privacy rules. The same way you can expect the colours of your carefully tweaked image to be distorted tomorrow, even if they look fine today.

Facebook is a networking platform that has exploded out of their original intent. Nowadays, for example, it is used as a powerful advertising tool. It is also used as an artwork porfolio platform. It was never designed to be used that way, though. It excels at what it should: connecting people (e.g. your grandma with your party animal friends) and even when it tries to keep up with all the new functions that users keep finding for it we can expect for the Facebook's team to take actions that support the main goal of their application (networking) but interfere with our new expectations (i.e. accurate artwork display).


After comparing the current Facebook page image and the one on Image Shack, my guess is that jpeg compression is part of the problem. The pink is not even across the letters, indicating heavy compression artifacts in relation to the size of the image.

Facebook seems to be all jpeg, all the way, so no matter what you upload it will end up as a jpeg. It will also be crushed.

Try this:

In Photoshop, Edit > Convert to Profile > sRGB. Make the intent Perceptual and turn on Black Point Compensation. (Note that "Assign Profile" will NOT work; it will just mess up the colors.)

Save for web, and resize the image in this dialog. Try to get it to the size it will display on FB, so their software isn't messing with it. Compress as far as you can while keeping the text fairly crisp. Uncheck "Include color profile".

I have clients with AOL accounts (a red flag warning if ever there was one!), and their images get smooshed beyond all recognition regularly as AOL "optimizes" them. (cough, cough) This looks like the same problem.

  • Thanks for the advise but It is still not working. Here is a link with the example result: imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/muestrax.png I have follow your steps and still got the same problem. I have used the sRGB profile, save for web as a JPG (I tried standar quality and maximum quality) Unchecked "embled color profile", tried checking and unchecking the "convert to sRGB" option with "monitor color" as preview, and adjusted it to 180 x 180 px (the minimum size facebook allows) Any other ideas? Jun 10, 2011 at 8:33
  • The color difference is slight, but it is definitely caused by compression artifacts, which are clearly visible as lighter and darker blotches if you zoom in 200% or so. When I said "compress as far as you can go" I meant look at the image in the 2-up view and compress until it's on the edge of degrading. If FB compresses it anyway (they might), another possible strategy is to save at maximum quality. You're dealing with an unknown quantity here (exactly how FB goes about processing images), so trial and error is indicated. But the color issue, like the fuzzy edges, is jpeg compression. Jun 10, 2011 at 17:46
  • Converting to sRGB solved a similar problem for me. Thank you.
    – user36531
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:29

I think that the problem is that photoshop is a color managed aplication, it will read the color profile from the operating system and use it to convert the image while you work in it.

That's obviously a good thing but when you try to see the image in a web browser that doesn't have that capability, it defaults to sRGB and there is the source of the problem.

Try setting Photoshop to work in sRGB, fix the colors and then upload the image again, it might work. It's either that or Facebook striping away some color information from the jpeg, but we can't fix that.


The solution – use PNG format!

If you are reasonably savvy with image formats and graphics software, try saving your image as a PNG 24. This may well give you a higher file size to start with, but in our experience, Facebook is not applying compression to PNGs. Of course, this might change in the future, but for now this is our solution.

  • 1
    Please explain, why png24 can be a solution. The op told in the question he had problems with png. Have you tested it? Can you add screenshots? Please explain better why that could be a solution. Welcome!
    – Mensch
    Mar 13, 2016 at 11:02

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