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After a year of offering 58 gender identity options, Facebook has now decided to make it more customisable by giving “free-form field” or a fill-in-the-blank option for users to describe their identity. The expanded custom gender option is at present available to everyone who uses Facebook in US English, but the social networking company has plans to expand it in the future.”Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own,” said Facebook announcement on Thursday. The option is also being called an ‘infinite’ gender selection. Notably, Google+ had included the same “freeform text field” option when it brought out its custom gender feature in December.

The social networking giant noted that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and because of that it decided to come up with a custom option in which users can now specify with apt word in the blank box as well as a preferred pronoun to address them – male, female or neutral. Facebook notes that as before, users can add up to ten gender terms, and can also to control the audience with whom they’d like share their custom gender.

“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female’,” added company.

While people are thanking Facebook for the new option, there are still concerns over company’s real name policy. Last year, the company had eased the policy a little but didn’t remove it completely like Google+ and Twitter. Facebook allows people to use ‘assumed’ or ‘stage’ names, but these are still subject to verification.

[source : gadgets.ndtv.com]