Metro Weekly

Polyamorous Advocates Push for Visibility on Facebook

Activists are lobbying Facebook to change its settings to allow people in polyamorous relationships to link to all their partners.

Image by Todd Franson.

Polyamorous activists are seeking to change Facebook’s relationship status options to provide an inclusive option for those in multiple people relationships.

In a letter to Tom Alison, the head of the Facebook app, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy (OPEN) argued that the current relationship options on the social media platform were “arbitrary, exclusionary, and contrary to Meta’s core values,” referring to Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, Inc.

In the three-page open letter, dated June 16, the members of OPEN’s executive board argued that the lack of display options for people in polyamorous relationships on the site erases their identity.

“At best, this restriction perpetuates the erasure and marginalization of non-monogamous relationships; at worst, it harms non-monogamous users by perpetuating social stigmas around the validity and authenticity of their relationships,” the board members wrote in the letter.

Facebook currently has 11 options for people who wish to disclose their relationship status: single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in a civil partnership, in a domestic partnership, in an open relationship, it’s complicated, separated, divorced, and widowed, reports the online magazine Xtra.

Some have argued that those in polygamous relationships can use the “in an open relationship” status, but OPEN opposes this because this doesn’t allow for polyamorous people to “present their most authentic self on their Profile’ and contributes actively to “delegitimizing non-monogamous relationships.”

According to OPEN’s board members, approximately 4-5% of adults in the United States currently practice some form of ethical non-monogamy, which refers to “a range of relationship practices involving multiple partners, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.” As such, the lack of a polyamorous option that lists all of a person’s relationships discriminates against that subset of the population, according to OPEN.

“All users of the Facebook App should have the right to indicate all of their romantic and intimate partners, without limit. We are therefore requesting that Meta take the next step in facilitating inclusive connection on the Facebook App by removing the limit of one ‘relationship status’ on Profiles,” the organization’s letter to Wilson concludes.

A representative from Facebook told The New York Times last week that the social media titan is evaluating the request, but made no further indication of its progress.

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