Facebook's algorithm-driven "Year in Review" videos are supposed to be a fun, quick way to relive your life in 2014. They have likely littered your timeline for the past few days/weeks now. But what if you simply want to forget the past shitty 12 months of your life? Suddenly, these clips become not so fun.
This was the case for Eric Meyer who tried to avoid Facebook's callous video because of the hardships he faced in 2014, specifically the untimely death of his six-year-old daughter. To make matters worse, Facebook posted a picture of his daughter with illustrations of people dancing around having a party. Meyer wasn't happy.
Meyer explains in a blog post that he understands that the feature is great for most of Facebook's users but only asks that users be asked to participate in Facebook-created videos rather than have them show up on your feed without warning. According to The Washington Post, Facebook reached out to Meyer and apologised, saying the app "was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy." Jonathan Gheller, the the Year in Review product manager, says that the team will take Meyer's suggestions under consideration in the future.
Of course, the technical problem in this case is that algorithms can't feel, so they tend to act like insensitive arseholes sometimes, or in other words, a robot. As Meyer points out, the program can't discern why a picture or post may have so many "likes" — whether joyous or heartbreaking. But Facebook also breeds a culture of positivity. After all, you can only "like" but never "dislike," so it's not surprising that the company may have overlooked the idea that many of us, like Meyer, had a pretty terrible 2014 and really don't need to be reminded of it. [The Washington Post]