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Facebook is sorry for making people relive bad memories with Year in Review posts

The feature has been much more than just annoying to some people.

Image: Dave Thompson/Press Association Images

FOR MOST PEOPLE, Facebook’s Year in Review posts are just another way for their friends to annoy them – but for some, it brings up painful memories of a bad year.

Cleveland man Eric Meyer’s six-year-old daughter Rebecca died of brain cancer earlier in 2014. He was surprised to discover his Year In Review post featured a picture of his daughter as the cover image, surrounded by balloons and dancing people.

On Christmas Eve, he published a blog post in which he said he knew it wasn’t a “deliberate assault”, but an “inadvertent algorithmic cruelty”.

Still, he felt the whole idea of the Year In Review post was a tad insensitive:

But for those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by a divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.
To show me Rebecca’s face and say “Here’s what your year looked like!” is jarring. It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate… It isn’t easy to programmatically figure out if a picture has a ton of ‘likes’ because it’s hilarious, astounding, or heartbreaking.

As Gawker reports, he’s not the only one who was forced to look back on a bad year:

After Meyer’s blog post went viral, Facebook’s Year in Review manager Jonathan Geller told the Washington Post he was sorry that the feature had caused people pain:

[Year in Review] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy. It’s valuable feedback. We can do better – I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.

Read: 14 things we’ll be delighted to leave behind in 2014>

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