OPEN: "Facebook Limits Love," Demands Inclusion of Non-Monogamous Relationships On Facebook
PolyamProud isn’t the only group working hard to increase understanding and support for people in polyamorous and consensually non-monogamous relationships. You may have heard about OPEN (Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy) already, but in case you haven’t: OPEN is a US-based nonprofit, and their focus is on fostering the polyamory and non-monogamy movement by 1) advancing cultural acceptance, 2) building political power, and 3) supporting non-monogamous communities and leaders.
Right now OPEN has a campaign where they’re calling on Meta (the company which owns Facebook) to allow people to add multiple relationships to their profile. By giving people the option to list more than one partner if they choose, they will have the ability to be open about who they love on one of the largest social media platforms in the world.
In June OPEN sent an open letter to Tom Allison, head of Facebook App (which was co-signed by a dozen organisations, advocates, and creators across the consensual non-monogamy sector). Within it they wrote: “Unfortunately, the design of the “relationship status” feature prevents many users from indicating the connections most important to them. By restricting users to one relationship status (and one tagged partner) on their Profile, non-monogamous individuals are arbitrarily prevented from expressing the full range of their connections on the Facebook App.”
They add further on: “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 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.”
So far OPEN’s campaign has received coverage in the New York Times, the Times of India, the Japan Times, and Quartz business news, meaning they’ve reached tens of millions of people around the globe. They’ve continued to keep the pressure on Meta by circulating the petition, but have also shared with us that they’re pursuing an ‘inside strategy’ - talking with folks inside Facebook to push this feature change from the bottom up!
Keep up with OPEN to see the ongoing work they’re doing - just this week they released a community survey report which had respondents from around the world, and which once again affirmed what many of us knew: that there’s a lot of stigma and prejudice against people on the basis of their non-monogamous identity. Anything that can be done to reduce harm against people on the basis of who and how they consensually love (be it a flag or a relationship status) has our support.