Noted by The Next Web this week, Facebook has increased the amount of exposure that a positive, significant change in a relationship receives on the social network by giving the new relationship status the “birthday treatment.” Called the “Weddings and Celebrations” feature, all engagements and marriages will appear in the top right corner of the main Facebook home page for all users. The announcement also shows a heart icon next to the statement about the relationship change. Since the announcements are now located in the same section where upcoming events and birthdays appear, friends won’t have to scroll through the main Facebook feed to locate the post or visit the user’s Facebook Timeline to see the happy news.
In addition, the user can hover over the announcement to bring up a small overlay. Within the overlay box, the user can write messages to both people in the relationship without leaving the page, assuming they are friends with both people. This new feature also allows friends of one member of the relationship to easily become Facebook friends with the significant other without leaving the page.
The change in relationship will remain on the home page for 48 hours, thus allowing more casual Facebook users to discover the announcement. If a user has several friends that have recently gotten engaged or married, those announcements will be rotated out each time the home page is loaded. In addition, ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends can delete the announcement if they aren’t interested in the change.
In regards to the new feature, a spokesperson for Facebook stated “Facebook has become a unique way people share and congratulate friends around exciting life events such as engagements and weddings or the arrival of a child. To make it easier to keep up with these momentous occasions and to ensure you can share in your friends’ joy, we are rolling out a “Weddings and Celebrations” feature. Beginning today, special events starting with engagements and weddings will be displayed along with friends’ birthdays when you log into Facebook.” This new feature rolled out to all Facebook users on late Thursday.
Mentioned by the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, Facebook also rolled out new Facebook Timeline icons for the marriage of same-sex couples. Depending on the couple, the icons show two tiny grooms or two tiny brides that are designed to look like the traditional couple that stands on top of a wedding cake.
When a gay or lesbian couple previously posted about a marriage, Facebook displayed a bride and groom icon despite the genders of the couple. The new feature got attention after Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes married his boyfriend Sean Eldridge and Mark Zuckerberg recently liked the relationship change.
When asked about the new feature for same-sex couples, GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro stated “Thanks to Facebook we are seeing photos of young gay people going to the prom together, and we are seeing committed gay couples getting married. Items like the new icon add to the understanding that same-sex love is the same love.” However, this isn’t the first time that Facebook has added features to the social network to support same-sex couples. During Febuary 2011, Facebook added civil union and domestic partnership options within the relationship status field.