Facebook to get rid of they singular

Via the Facebook blog and Language Log, Facebook is finally going to attempt to eradicate its use of the singular they/their. Finally!

I’ve been irritated by this custom since I first joined Facebook (quite awhile ago in internet years), but apparently the impetus for change wasn’t English speakers. Instead, the convention makes it nearly impossible in some foreign languages, which Facebook recently added to the social networking site. Still a pretty good reason, even if it has nothing to do with me.

How is this being done? Well, Facebook is going to prompt users that haven’t selected a gender, to choose whether they would like to be referred to as “he” or “she”, “him” or “her.” Still, it won’t eliminate the problem entirely; they aren’t making the field mandatory (which is perfectly fine with me). I do hope it helps eliminate the dreaded “So-and-so just tagged themself in a photo” from my News Feed.


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