NEW YORK - The online hangout Facebook is getting more serious about grammar. No more should users see jarringly incorrect declarations such as "Debbie changed their profile picture."
Those who haven't specified their gender in their Facebook profiles will be asked to do so in the coming weeks. That way, Facebook doesn't have to default to "their" or the made-up word "themself," as it had been doing.
While not knowing someone's gender poses grammatical challenges in English, it has created even larger headaches as Facebook expands to other languages, where a gender-neutral option isn't available in plural form.