Facebook users may now display that they have an “Expected: Child” within the family section of their profile beneath their profile picture. The option is available in the Friends & Family section of the profile editor, and users may also set a due date and name for their unborn child, though no actual profile or Page is created for the child.
However, in what appears to be a glitch, users are able to set an existing Facebook friend as their expected child. This doesn’t make any sense because Facebook’s terms of service dictate that all users must be at least 13 years of age.
Update 8/4/2011: This glitch has been fixed and users can no longer select a friend as their expected child
Aside from the glitch, which will likely be corrected, the ability to list an expected child should help users more accurately express their identity, and it may reduce the frequency of parents breaking the rules to create profiles for their unborn children.
Facebook added the ability for users to prominently list their family members in their profile as part of the December 2010 profile redesign. These relationships, as well as featured friend lists, appear in a column beneath a user’s profile picture. The option can help users show their friends who is important in their life. This freedom of self-expression makes allows Facebook to offer a more accurate representation of themselves, encouraging users to invest time building their network and manicuring their profile.
With similar intentions, in February Facebook began allowing users to list their relationship status as “in a civil union” or “in a domestic partnership”. This was helpful for those in less common forms of partnerships as well as gay couples who live in places that don’t permit gay marriage, and could be interpreted as a victory for civil rights.
How to Add an Expected Child
Now, alongside the option to list a Facebook friend as one’s brother, cousin, or other family member, users can add list an expected child. To do so, users visit their profile, click “Edit Profile”, enter the Family & Friends tab, and under Family select to “Add another family member”. They can then select “Expected: Child” from the drop down, and then choose to enter a due date and name.
A blank profile picture labeled “Expected: Child” along with the name and due date if applicable are then shown in the Family section of the user’s profile. Unlike other listed family members, clicking the expected child’s panel just reload’s the parent’s profile. Listing an expected child also generates an activity feed story on the parent’s wall and the news feed of their friends.
Previously, parents on Facebook often used profile pictures of ultrasound scans, as well as status updates to announce they were expecting a child, but there wasn’t a good way to persistently display this information without making it the focus of one’s profile. In some cases, parents would create a profile for their unborn child, which violates Facebook’s terms of service, or alternatively create an official Page for them. This new option lets users to prominently display the momentous news of having a baby on the way without creating a separate presence for the child.
The Now-Fixed Friend as Expected Child Glitch
Users could temporarily subvert the expected child option, though, until Facebook fixed the glitch. If users set a friend as another type of family member, then saved, and then went back and edited their family relationship type to “Expected: Child”, that friend’s name, but not their picture, was displayed in the user’s profile as their expected child. The friend received a family relationship request, which if accepted caused a link to their profile and their picture to appear in the family section of the profile of their “parent”.
Users may have been able to take advantage of this glitch for a little practical joking, but Facebook disabled the option to list friends as expected children a few days after this article was originally published, leaving only the intended use case.