Facebook gifts the world a brand new religion

When last I wrote about Facebook and religion, it was to note that the website seemed to be consciously restricting its users’ expressions of faith to a small number of preset choices. What you’re about to read takes this practice one step further.

I wanted to document it before it inevitably gets fixed — and also, perhaps, provide some free advice to those of my friends interested in maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the information shared on their Facebook profiles.

I was on a friend’s Facebook page — I’m supposed to be writing a memo so I was procrastinating, plus I had a good reason (I probably should have led with that last thing) — and specifically on his About page, when I noticed said weird thing. See if you can spot it:

Jewishm Basic

What the hell is Jewishm? I clicked:

Jewish info page

Turns out, I have 37 friends who are into Jewishm. Clicking on the Wikipedia page helped me understand that Jewishm is actually a form of Judaism (as Wikipedia helpfully automatically redirects). That’s nice, but something tells me Jewishm is not what all those friends had in mind when they (inexplicably) chose to share their religious affiliation with Mark Zuckerberg.

The problem does not seem to be limited to individual profiles:

Jewishm search

I literally have no idea.

And now for some good news: it seems that so long as your professed religion is just slightly more specific than “Jewish”, it was not (inexplicably) converted to Jewishm — meaning, those who put themselves down for, say, “Modern Orthodox Judaism”, still appear to be adherents of that particular denomination. So if your profile currently reads “Jewishm”, there is an easy way out. Just pick a denomination and run with it.

Unless, of course, you were comfortable professing your Judaism on Facebook but hesitant to adopt anything that isn’t post-denominational. Looks like you’re stuck with Jewishm or nothing — or an alternative more creative — for now.

[Update, 3/31: For how long? It’s the next morning, and they fixed it. But this was… fun while it lasted. I should really be working on that memo.]


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