Facebook offers wide variety of third party options

It used to be that one had the option of entering his or her political ideology (i.e. conservative, libertarian, progressive) in a Facebook profile. That option no longer exists, but one can now enter their respective political party affiliation—and there is an extensive list of parties from which one can choose. From the Facebook blog:

Find the Political Views menu on Facebook a little limited? Users have often asked for the ability to select from more options to describe their political viewpoint, so we’ve expanded the list. And since terms like “liberal” or “conservative” don’t necessarily mean the same thing in every country, we’ve switched to a global listing of national political parties.

Regardless of where you live, you should now see your country’s political parties listed in the Political Affiliation drop-down menu. Don’t identify fully with a political party? We’ve also added the option to name your political views in free text, just as you can with Religious Views. So whatever you believe, you’re free to share it with others.

The free text works pretty well with words like “dogcatching”, but I can’t simply list “libertarian” anymore. I’m now forced to chose from one of the three Libertarian parties they have listed. I’ll note that while they seem to have a lot of choices available, they have missed the newly formed United Kingdom Libertarian Party.

UPSIDE: It will make it easier to use Facebook to find and contact other party members.

DOWNSIDE: It will make it tougher to find and contact potential party members.

I’ve started or admin several Facebook Groups for political parties (and campaigns and such). These groups allow for party affiliation or other similar organizational attributes. Because of this, I think I prefer the former mechanism they used—but I will be toying with the newer method for outreach purposes, too.

26 Responses to “Facebook offers wide variety of third party options”

  1. BillTX Says:

    Is the Prohibition Party on there?

    Anyway, I used to be on Facebook, but left. It got to be incredibly
    fucking annoying and time consuming.

  2. Chuck Moulton Says:

    I found it much easier to search and recruit with just “libertarian” listed rather than “Libertarian Party”.

    Nice screenshot! I see my good friend and super-dedicated Libertarian activist Jim Babb is featured prominently. Jim does at least 1/3 of the work in the LPPA.

  3. Alex Peak Says:

    You can still list yourself simply as “Libertarian.” I am still listed under that single word.

    This change is going to make it much harder to form College Libertarian groups. Whereas previously one could easily search and find those students at his or her college who hold the libertarian ideology, now one can list virtually anything, “minarchist,” “anarchist,” “anarcho-liberal,” “radical libertarian,” “classical liberal,” “left-Rothbardian,” “neolibertarian,” &c.

  4. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Alex—try to change yours and then change it back and you will see what I mean. At least I can’t change mine back to “Libertarian” any more.

  5. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Chuck—the order the friends came in was totally random—I didn’t set that up—don’t think it can be done.

  6. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Bill—I just delete all of the applications and invites and it isn’t as annoying for me.

  7. BillTX Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Stephen.

  8. Brian Ewart Says:

    I preferred the old way. I am a small-L libertarian, who is registered (at least for the moment) as a Republican. I would never put party over principle though. I would rather be known as a libertarian than as a Republican, even if that IS my official affiliation.

  9. Brian Ewart Says:

    Oh, and they also missed the Scottish Nationalist Party, which currently forms the majority government in Scotland.

    Bravo Facebook!

  10. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Gordon:

    We’ve also added the option to name your political views in free text, just as you can with Religious Views. So whatever you believe, you’re free to share it with others.
    This seems to indicate that you should be able to change your label back to “Libertarian.”

    Although I see what you mean. Although you can change it to say anything you want, if you try to change it back to simply read “Libertarian,” it will choose for you one of the options—whichever one is high-lighted when you click away from the text-box—that contains the same characters. In our case, that means one of three political parties.

    Hopefully Facebook can fix this programming glitch. In the mean-time, I’ve pressed ‘Cancel’ instead of ‘Save Changes,’ thereby allowing myself to keep the single-word label.

    Alex Peak

  11. Alex Peak Says:

    I did not intentionally embolden the above text.

  12. Jeff Wartman Says:

    I was able to change the “political views” section on my facebook from “Libertarian” to “Libertarian Party” then back to “Libertarian”

  13. Stephen Gordon Says:

    I just tried with IE, too. Can’t change mine back with Firefox or IE. Also tried—libertarian—but it defaulted to Libertarian Party.

  14. Alex Peak Says:


    Now I’m able to do that, too. How very odd, an hour ago I was unable.

    Now, when I type in L-i-b-e-r-t-a-r-i-a, it lists the three parties. But when I type in the final letter, n, it tells me that there are “No matches found.”

    Alex Peak

  15. Stephen Gordon Says:

    To be clear, I tried “—libertarian—”

    Jeff, what are you doing that I’m not doing?

  16. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Alex—I’m getting Libertarian Party with or without the final “n”

  17. Peter M. Says:

    The fill-in box is like the religions box, so you can theoretically put in whatever you want. I do agree that it is somewhat strange that they restricted it to political parties as opposed to political theories or ideologies. Each category is about as broad, but what they did seems strange.

    Either way though, the search function for “Political Views” still has yet to be updated. Currently, that will only still work with the original Very Liberal to Very Conservative plus Libertarian and Other options. So the upside that you did mention doesn’t really exist yet. Hopefully that will be fixed eventually, though.

  18. Stephen Gordon Says:

    I’ve got mine changed to “Very Libertarian” at the moment. :)

  19. Alex Peak Says:

    It’s gone back to not-letting-me write simply “Libertarian.”

    Ah, the wonderful world of Facebook. At least I still have the ‘Cancel’ button.

  20. Jeff Wartman Says:

    I’m not sure. It actually took me a couple tries to get it to go back to “libertarian”. Initially after saving the changes to “Libertarian Party”, when I went back in to try to change it to “Libertarian”, it would revert to “Libertarian Party”. On the third try or so it allowed me to save it again as “Libertarian”.

    It’s definately buggy—seems like everyone is having a different and strange experience…I guess we can see if it will work itself out, but I won’t be holding my breath :)

  21. Peter M. Says:

    Hmm, perhaps I should change mine to “Very Other” :)

  22. paulie Says:


    Facebook keeps getting crappier.

  23. Nigel Watt Says:

    I’m now “Minarchist”.

  24. Chuck Moulton Says:

    I can do it, but it took a minute of fiddling.

    I typed in something like “Libertarianz”, then deleted the z, then typed the z again, then right clicked in the box and clicked undo. That made it say “Libertarian” with no highlighted options, and I saved the changes without a problem.

    I haven’t been able to search by political affiliation since the new “feature” though. I complained the day it was implemented. No response.

  25. Mike C Says:

    The above method sounds like it would work well.

    The way I changed mine to just “Socialist” as opposed to any particular party:

    -Copied “Socialist” (or for most here they would try “Libertarian” of course) onto my clip board
    -Quickly paste it into the field and click away, as it doesn’t have time to search for the various parties, thus it remains in the field as just “Socialist” and it can be saved that way.

    Hopefully they just fix it to where you can type whatever you want, but in the mean time the above method and the one I just said should work

  26. Zeleni Says:

    Once they get the search working, this will be helpful for Greens to identify potential supporters. It may have been easy for Libertarians to find someone supporters labeled as libertarian, but Greens were Very Liberal, Liberal, Moderate, and Other. Impossible to determine a potential supporter with the old political affiliation options.

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