Facebook has screwed up yet again and been forced to apologize to Eric Meyer over his personal “Year in Review.” This was because it included a post about the death of the web design consultant’s daughter in it.
If you have Facebook then you have already seen this new feature that it added just in time for the end of 2014. The Year in Review is basically a list of all of your postings for the year. You can also see the reviews for 2014 for all of your Facebook friends.
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But someone at Facebook forgot that maybe not all of what people posted on their Facebook timeline was good news. So no one at the company bothered to filter out the stories which people might not want to relive.
Meyer, who lost his daughter Rebecca, wrote in a blog post, “For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by 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, ” Meyer wrote. “It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate.”
After The Washington Post highlighted Meyer’s blog on Friday Facebook took notice. Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s Year in Review app, told the Post, “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy. We can do better — I’m very grateful he [Meyer] took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”
After that Meyer, in turn, felt bad enough to tell Facebook that he was the one who owed it an apology.
But Meyer was not alone as countless Facebook users vented their frustrations with the Year in Review on other social media like Twitter.
Writing in The New Republic, Eric Sasson put the blame not on Facebook but on its users who actually used the new feature.
He feels that people only looked at it to make themselves feel as special writing, “The irony of these attempts to express our uniqueness by collectively posting what Facebook has cobbled together as our “year” seems to be lost on most of us. How are we being unique when we’re all using the same narrow set of tools to express ourselves?”