Commentary

Facebook Stops Showing Pictures of Your Ex

Facebook

Well, isn't that nice: Facebook will no longer include photographs of ex-girlfriends/boyfriends (and presumably, ex-wives/husbands) in the "Photo Memories" part of the member profile page, according to Mashable, to avoid reminding users of their past relationships. The change in policy was prompted by a Facebook protest group, I Hate Photo Memories, made up of people who can't stand to be reminded of their own emotional failures, including their inability to sustain a normal relationship because of their fear of intimacy. Separately, their mothers would also like to know when they are going to get married and have some grandchildren already?

A Facebook member named Julie posted a typical complaint: "It keeps showing pics of my ex and their new significant other and it makes me sick! I'm still in love and I'm trying to move on but it's ridiculously hard when every time I log on, their face pops up on the right hand of screen." Another user identifying himself as Torn offers: "All I see are pictures of my ex. I have to use facebook for communication, but am forced to see her EVERY single time I log on. It's such an emotional time using the platform." And a user named Ben concedes that "Photo memories is a good idea but it definitely needs an off button. I've recently split from my ex and she's on them all the time. It's very emotional and this doesn't make it better."

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The new, "no-ex" policy is probably a wise move from an advertising standpoint: with the possible exception of some wine and spirits brands, I can't imagine many advertisers wanting to be associated with photos of your ex and the resulting emotional reactions, ranging from melancholy reflection to blind rage. That said, the negative reactions are also kind of a backhanded compliment to Facebook, by showing how deeply engaging the medium really is.

However there are some obvious limitations: for one thing, if you didn't declare the relationship openly on Facebook in the first place, there's no way for the social network to know that things went sour. And I will add that there is also something a bit creepy about this: I can't quite put my finger on it, but the idea of a vast online entity making subtle choices about what content to present from my own life and personal history, all in an effort to placate and pacify me, is a little too reminiscent of "The Matrix."

2 comments about "Facebook Stops Showing Pictures of Your Ex".
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  1. Frank Watson from Kangamurra Media, October 20, 2010 at 10:20 p.m.

    Guess Mark feels everyones pain first hand

  2. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, October 25, 2010 at 9:53 a.m.

    They took down the fan page. =(

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