Scrolling through your news feed this year you probably saw several users posting their Year in Review.  This new feature from Facebook allows users to create a photo history of the past year.  However, many users have been unhappy with the feature forcing Facebook to apologize for the Year in Review feature.

While the Year in Review has been used by many on the social media service, many users are not satisfied with the feature as it also brings up unhappy memories of the year as well.

The problem seems to rest in the algorithm Facebook created to produce the Year in Review posts.  This algorithm looks at your posts and places the most popular into your Year in Review based on views, comments and likes.  While this type of algorithm works in most cases, Facebook forgot to consider how many likes and comments people receive for bad news as well as good news.

Web design consultant and writer Eric Weber’s Year in Review highlighted the death of his young daughter; he wrote about the negative experience in a post.

And I know, of course, that this is not a deliberate assault. This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works in the overwhelming majority of cases, reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house.

But 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.

According to The Post, Facebook’s product manager for Year in Review, Jonathan Gheller, reached out to Weber and personally apologized.

“[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” Gheller reportedly said. “We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”

In addition to the sad memories, many users complained about the overwhelming presence of the new app feeling that it was pushy with its constant reminders of its existence.

Facebook’s Year in Review could have been a nice feature allowing users and their friends to relive some of the best experiences over the last year.  However, Facebook failed to recognize the potential of forcing users to relive some of the worst memories of their life forcing Facebook to apologize for the Year in Review instead of celebrating it.
[Image: Flickr, Marco Pakoeningrat]