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The US-based Organisation for Polyamory & Ethical Non-Monogamy (OPEN) is leading a coalition of legal advocates, sexual freedom experts, and activists advocating on behalf of people in the ethically non-monogamous and polyamorous communities, to call on Facebook to “remove its limits on love” and cease restricting users to one relationship status and one tagged partner in their profiles.

The letter, sent to Meta’s Tom Allison, Head of Facebook App, argues that the design of Facebook’s “relationship status” feature arbitrarily denies non-monogamous individuals from expressing the full range of their connections on the platform. 

Authentic espression

Speaking exclusively to OutNewsGlobal, Brett Chamberlin, Executive Director of OPEN, commented:

“Given that Facebook continues to exclude the types of relationships increasingly preferred by younger generations, it should be no surprise that younger users are increasingly moving to other platforms that allow for more authentic expression and connection.” 

Erasure and marginalisation

An extract from the letter reads:

“Given the growing prevalence of ethical non-monogamy, we believe that restricting users to listing only one relationship status on their Profile is arbitrary, exclusionary, and contrary to Meta’s core values. At best, this feature restriction perpetuates the erasure and marginalization of non-monogamy; at worst, it harms non-monogamous users by perpetuating social stigmas around the validity and authenticity of non-monogamous relationships.

“Meta has long demonstrated a limited recognition of non-monogamous relationships through the inclusion of an “open relationship” option for the “relationship status” field. Further, Meta recognizes that some connection systems (such as families) involve many people, and does not restrict the number of “family members” that can be listed on a user’s Profile. By expanding the recognition of non-monogamous relationships on the Facebook App, Meta will improve users’ ability to present their most authentic self on their Profile.

“All users of the Facebook App should have the right to indicate all of their romantic and intimate partners, without limit.”

Find the full letter and its signatories here.

Ticking all the boxes

According to OPEN, one in five American adults will take part in a consensually non-monogamous relationship at some point in their lives. And, in the 2020 “Sex Census” organised by luxury sex-toy brand LELO, 28 per cent of UK adults surveyed said that a polyamorous relationship would tick all their intimacy boxes. This figure rose to 38 per cent among people aged 18 to 24.

Find out more about the different types of polyamory here.

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