I've been editing some casual photographs of a party, intending to post them on facebook for my friends to see, and today I uploaded these shots only to find color is horribly off (in firefox, as chromium seems unaffected - I couldn't test other browsers). Reds and blues go purplish, greens get saturated to the point most detail in grass and trees is lost. Of course I didn't bother with re-uploading the shots, as I knew I had done all that was possible against this problem. Also I thought 99% of people don't give a .... about color and anyway nobody could know how my pictures were supposed to look as opposed to how they actually look. Just hoping everyone is using chrome :-) Ok, enough babbling.
Now see what's funny: as I had already had this kind of problem (uploading photos for an answer here on photo.SE) I knew how to avoid it. The profile I had photoshop assign to those shots, sRGB IEC61966-2.1, was not interpreted correctly by firefox, which theoretically should color manage images which have their color profile embedded, but practically likes only those with no profile at all.
When I was doing the editing for the party photographs I wasn't aware of this issue, so today I used imagemagick to resize all the shots I wanted to upload, at the same time stripping them of any embedded information, just to be safe. At this point my shots had no color profile and looked perfectly good and just the same opening them in firefox or any other program.
As soon as they were uploaded to facebook the shots showed the color issues I mentioned at the start of my question. Trying to understand what was going on and if facebook changed something, I downloaded one of the shots, one that has some nice color variation and easily allows to spot the differences in rendition. It looks fine in my image viewer (and chromium and photoshop), I can see in its properties that it has no embedded color profile nor any other exif information, but if it's viewed in firefox those bad annoying color issues won't go away, even disabling color management in about:config.
Is facebook applying a color profile that is invisible, handled correctly by all applications, but it's enough to mess up firefox?
Update: Yes, it does. It's not really invisible, but it doesn't show as metadata in three different image viewers I tried.
New question: What can one do? Why is firefox refusing to render correctly every image tagged with a color profile? Can this problem be related to different versions of firefox made for different OSs?
Undoubtedly firefox (I'm using version 13.0.1) has some problem with color that probably can be fixed with proper configuration, but this is not a solution. First, one can't ask everyone one knows to mess with (for most people) exotic settings if they want to see some photos correctly. Then, as I have proved with many experiments that firefox can display images the way I want it to, if only I leave them without profiles, and that's ok with me, why should this behavior be broken by facebook, or any other similar service, for that matter, which apparently is not doing any (absurd) management or correction of color?
Samples below. Maybe your version of firefox has a different take on the subject? The way it's supposed to be (no profile at all):
With "c2" aka "the facebook profile" (to me it looks like firefox renders it the same garish way even with a standard sRGB profile):
Update: I looked at this page using the same version of firefox, but on windows xp with a serious monitor instead (my pc is a laptop with a decent screen and as of now running xubuntu). There's some difference in rendition between the two samples, but you almost can't tell unless you look at the reds.