Dear “Friends”:

We are thrilled to announce our latest update to our lexicon here at Facebook headquarters. As of today, the term “user” will be replaced with “person.” This may take a few moments to sink in, but you will soon begin to experience even more deeply the pleasures, mysteries, and yearnings that define the human condition.

The elevation of the human condition is our primary mission here at Menlo Park. We value the role language plays in our living profiles, and do not make these changes lightly. We want you to know that each revision to our omnibus dictionary is crowd-sourced and vigorously tested on beta communities before we take it to wide release.

Our Empathy Team is constantly evaluating our terminology for outmoded expressions. For example, last month we replaced the word for someone who uses Facebook upwards of six hours per day (previously: “addict”) with a name more indicative of the devotion and willing persistence of the human spirit, i.e. “person ultra.”

Our tradition of tinkering with the vernacular dates back to the earliest stages of our company. Over a decade ago, you might recall, we changed the company name from the subtly violent “Facemash” to the more Hellenic “Facebook.” Some of you might also remember the term “psychostimulant,” which we scrapped early on for the more ubiquitous “photo.” And who can forget, back in ’04, our fortuitous decision to supplant “sensitized dopamine response of the nucleus accumbens” with the much simpler and more mellifluous “like”?

Another term our Empathy Team is revisiting for the next update is “mainliner”––an intradepartmental expression commonly used to describe a devotee who engages in Facebook platform activities more than one hundred hours per week. We aim for a culture of human sympathy and “arete” here at the Social Networking World Capital, and are constantly striving to eliminate words that might inadvertently dehumanize our customer base.

In this spirit, our Empathy Team is calling for open submissions to replace the term “mainliner.” We encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Another suggestion by some members of the Empathy Team is the substitution of the phrase “comments section” with the more acoustically-appropriate “thoughts section.”

The game is changing, and we at Facebook HQ want you to know we are not afraid to adapt with it. We are not just programmers and businessmen here; we are philosophers, poets, and creative wordsmiths; human beings engaged in the important work of uplifting and inspiring the soul.

Here at Menlo Park, we believe our existential stewardship extends to both “persons” and to advertisers. For this reason, we have created the Commercial Empathy Team, whose focus will be the implementation of human-appropriate semantics as they pertain to revenue streams.

The Commercial Empathy Team wants you to know it cares. Accordingly, we want your opinion: should we replace the word “advertisement” with “idea”? Please think below.


The “People” at Facebook, Inc.
Menlo Park, California