Commentary

Why Facebook Is Fiddling With Your Memories

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just erase your bad memories?

Sure, it would probably mean making the same mistakes over and over, and never learning the deeper lessons that life’s losses provide.

Still, wouldn’t it be nice? Facebook thinks so, and thus is giving users some new tools to trim unwanted memories from their virtual minds. You can now tell Facebook’s “On This Day” feature -- which fills your News Feed with old photos -- to exclude specific individuals and dates.

Don’t want to be reminded of that Halloween party where you first laid eyes on your ex-mate? Consider it forgotten. Never again wish to see his or her face in your feed? Done. 

The feature already tried to limit such awkward encounters by automatically omitting posts featuring people that users had previously listed as romantic partners. These latest changes make it possible to further refine the editing process.

For Facebook, the changes make perfect sense. Since launching its “On This Day” feature earlier this year, the company has received a ton of complaints from users who didn’t appreciate seeing pictures of departed friends and bad breakups in their feeds. And, of course, giving users more control over their accounts is always a good thing.

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For users, the implications of editing one’s virtual memory are a little worrisome, but who am I to judge? Our histories are our own, and people should do what they want with them.

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