Facebook to Ask Users to Specify Gender

But site remains sensitive to those who find gender limiting
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2008 3:15 PM CDT
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg smiles during a talk at Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Facebook announced a seemingly minor change today: Users will soon be prompted to specify a gender for their “mini-feed” updates. The site has been using the awkward “themself” to avoid gender specificity, but Facebook managers say that doesn’t work so well when the site is translated into languages that ingrain gender into grammar, CNET eports.

"People who haven't selected what sex they are frequently get defaulted to the wrong sex entirely in Mini-Feed stories," said a blog post by Facebook’s product manager. The site realizes, however, that not everyone has a clear gender preference, so there's an opt-out for the gender-nonspecific—thought they’ll have to live with redundant repetition of their names in the mini-feed.