Facebook has apologised after a new feature inviting users to review a collection of their 2014 highlights

December 29, 2014 6:21 pm

Facebook has apologised after a new feature inviting users to review a collection of their 2014 highlights caused some to be confronted with pictures of their recently deceased family members and friends.

The social-media site began inviting users to look at their “Year in Review”, a chronological collection of photos picked automatically from their profile, just before Christmas.

It compiles their “highlights” by selecting the posts and pictures that provoked the most responses – but for many users, this dredged up highly unpleasant memories.

It compiles their "highlights" by selecting the posts and pictures that provoked the most responses - but for many users, this dredged up highly unpleasant memories.
It compiles their “highlights” by selecting
the posts and pictures that provoked the most responses – but for many
users, this dredged up highly unpleasant memories.

Eric Meyer, a web-design consultant from Cleveland, Ohio, was confronted by a picture of his 6-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who died of brain cancer this year, alongside the jaunty tagline: “Eric, here’s what your year looked like!”

In a blog post, Mr Meyer said he found the image – which appeared against a background showing people celebrating – “jarring” and “wrong”.

“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.”

Facebook’s product manager for the Year in Review, Jonathan Gheller, emailed Mr Meyer to apologise and later told the Washington Post: “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy.”

Rosie, 31, from West Sussex, wrote on Twitter that Facebook had “decided to entice me to view my year in review with a photo of my dead grandparents”.

Mark Duffy, a freelance copywriter from New York, was confronted with a picture of his dead father’s ashes, while Sarah-Jane, of Australia, wrote: “I’m so glad that Facebook made my ‘Year in Review’ image a picture of my now dead dog. I totally wanted to sob uncontrollably this Xmas Eve.” Facebook declined to comment.

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