Facebook Asks Users to Specify Gender

Facebook will soon ask its users to specify their gender as either male or female, so that the social networking site can specify members’ status and profile updates to be more grammatically correct. Fortunately, for members of the transgendered community and others, there will also be an option for users to remove a gender specification entirely from their profiles.

Users who haven’t specified their gender in their Facebook profiles will be asked to do so in the coming weeks.

That way, Facebook doesn’t have to default to “their” or the made-up word “themself,” as it had been doing.

While not knowing someone’s gender poses grammatical challenges in English, it has created even larger headaches as Facebook expands to other languages, where a gender-neutral option isn’t available in plural form.

“People who haven’t selected what sex they are frequently get defaulted to the wrong sex entirely,” Naomi Gleit, a Facebook product manager, wrote Friday in a company blog.

Transgendered people and other users who find the male-female distinction too limiting will still have the option of removing gender entirely from their profiles.

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