SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook is making it easier for people to more adequately specify their own gender.
Previously, advertisers have been limited to knowing whether someone was male or female. Sorry, of course gathering more targeted user data isn't the important point for Facebook here - we meant users would have been limited to saying whether they were a chap or a woman. From now on, though, they will be able to categorise themselves in any one of 50 different ways.
Facebook said that it added the range of options so people will be more comfortable on the website in their own virtual skins.
"An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just 'male' or 'female'. So today, we're proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook," the social network announced.
"We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organisations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves. Moreover, people who select a custom gender will now have the ability to choose the pronoun they'd like to be referred to publicly - male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their)."
Facebook is offering 'custom genders' to US English-speaking punters. It has provided a list of options, and advised users that that they can select who and what they want to share their gender identity with.
"We recognise that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way," it added.
The company has not provided a list of the available terms, but we are given to understand that one is 'non-binary'. µ