Facebook has been forced to apologize over its Year in Review posts lately. Due to the computer algorithm, a number of people have been forced to live painful memories due to the images that have been chosen to appear on the list. One man stated that he was faced with remembering the death of his six-year-old daughter due to the images.
Every year, the social media site does a review of the year. Last year it was through a video showing the top photos, comments and memories. This year, it was a short slide of images and some videos. People were able to customize their Facebook Year in Review captions and even add and remove photos that they preferred to include.
The automatic caption for those posting on their profiles is “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being part of it.” However, it has certainly not been a great year for everyone. Many have complained to the social networking giant due to the lack of thought into the idea.
During the 10th anniversary of the site, the videos were viewed as a positive thing by the majority. It led to one man’s fight to be able to see his son’s video, who had died in an accident during the year. Facebook originally would not allow the grieving father access, but did after a social media campaign. The photos and videos were pleasant reminders of the man his son had been.
However, not everyone wants to be bombarded by the memories and it has led to Facebook apologizing over the Year in Review posts. Eric Meyer, a writer and web design consultant, explained that those who have spent long periods in hospital, were faced with divorce or the death of a child, or had other crises during the year may not want to look back over images.
That being said, nobody was forced to use the app to see their year overview. It was an option at the end of looking at someone else’s, who had decided to share the Year in Review on their own Facebook timeline. Despite this, the company did apologize for the unintended pain that the app caused.
Meyer lost his six-year-old daughter to brain cancer this year. He shared a blog post on Christmas Eve about the tragic event and the images that showed up on his Year in Review post. They were difficult for him, just like others would find their own heartbreak and crises difficult to face.
Jonathon Gheller, the product manager for the app, personally apologized and then shared his comments with the Washington Post. He explained that it would be something to take on board for next year’s review app or product for the site. However, the majority of people had found the app fun to use and it did bring up a number of great memories. Many users were happy with the ability to customize their images, rather than being forced with default images that would not necessarily tell the full story of the year.
The Year in Review app is still available for people to use. It selects most of the photos and videos that were highly liked or commented on, as they appear to be the favorites. However, Facebook has apologized for the Year in Review posts for those who do find them distressing.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Jason McELweenie