Facebook today issued apologies because its “Year In Review” feature reminded people of events that they would rather forget. Here’s an example from the Daily Mirror:
With the death of his six-year-old daughter, Rebecca, Eric Meyer had suffered a year of heartache and loss, one that will take him many more to get over.
So the web designer from Cleveland, Ohio, was ill-prepared to have that grief dragged up again when he logged on to Facebook to discover a picture of her, with the cheery message: ‘Eric, here’s what your year looked like.’
Well, that’s a #fail. Here’s a few examples from Twitter:
That’s another #fail. Let’s go over to The Washington Post to see how Facebook responded to this:
Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s “Year in Review” app said he has reached out to Meyer and is personally very sorry for the pain the preview feature caused Meyer.
“[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” he told the Post. The team behind the app is considering ways to improve it for next time and will take Meyer’s concerns into account, he said, although he did not comment on if they would follow Meyer’s specific suggestions.
“It’s valuable feedback,” Gheller said. “We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”
The number of interactions and pictures and image gets on Facebook was among the strongest signals in determining which pictures were used for the “Year in Review” product, he said.
Now I think it is safe to say that neither of these examples were deliberate. But maybe Facebook who are experts at mining data and telling you all sorts of things that you never knew about yourself
so that they can make lots of money might have put a bit more thought and effort into this feature to avoid this scenario?