Facebook lets expectant parents share the news

The move has stirred controversy for the social network.

Facebook has added a feature that lets expectant parents add unborn children to the "Friends and Family" section of their profiles by selecting "Expected: Child" on the drop-down list. Typical of anything Facebook does, this feature -- implemented so that parents-to-be wouldn't break Facebook's rules by creating a profile for someone who is very underage -- has stirred controversy for the social network.

Some believe that posting Expected: Child on Facebook cheapens the experience of becoming a parent. TechNewsDaily spoke to an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan who said that it's a "very clinical way" to share information -- as if overzealous upcoming parents wouldn't tweet-blast friends and followers the same data, just without the formality of an added profile.

More controversial is the inherent dangers of telling large groups of people -- some of whom you may not even know -- that you're pregnant and then having something tragic happen. That, of course, is a risk some people choose to take when they share anything on any social network, so it shouldn't raise as much of a stink as it has.

What I find most odd about Facebook's Expected: Child feature is the grammar. Why the semicolon? The usage of a semicolon in that context usually means you get another blank spot to fill in more information, like "Expected: Hangover" or "Expected: Cat named Professor Wiggles." If Facebook goes full-throttle and allows users to customize their profiles in that fashion -- like they added civil unions and domestic partnerships to their relationship statuses -- maybe it will truly be a better place to meet friends and self-express.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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