Quentin Bryce Law Doctoral Scholarship

Facebook celebrates queer visibility week by putting everyone’s sexual orientation next to their names

A huge step forward by the social media giant

The Silicon Valley tech giant Facebook has, in a landmark new initiative, finally decided to celebrate the visibility of LGBTI people by displaying the sexual orientation of everyone on their platform right next to their name.

The move comes after many years of the company being condemned by many in the community for not fully accommodating the needs of queer identifying people on Facebook.

Marty Phelder, a prominent Sydney queer activist noted “It feels like finally, Facebook is doing the right thing by the queer community, by making our identites visible to everyone in the world who uses Facebook.”

Many of the site’s users are excited to have their sexual orientation open for the world to see.

“The update only happened this morning so some of the effects haven’t even fully happened yet. I mean, I can’t wait for everyone, my boss, my parents, my tennis partner — everyone — to find out I’m gay” said Leslie Sharpe, another user excited about the update.

“It feels like, forever, Facebook has been a cruel and toxic place for me to exist in. Hopefully, now that everyone can see that I’m bisexual, things will really start to change.”

The innovative update to Facebook’s platform has two major components. Firstly, for users that publicly display their sexual orientation in the “about me” section of their profile, Facebook takes that information and displays it next to their name. However, for users that have not included their sexual preferences in their profile, the company has engineered a backend program which utilises machine learning to trawl through the user’s private messenger conversations to effectively determine what their orientation is and use that information for the service.

Michael Lombardi, another user of the social media site, said “with this update, Facebook has made everything super easy. I didn’t even tell it I was pansexual and their tech figured it out. Great!”

Student services counters have been closed all across campus. Art: Rebekah Wright.

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