Facebook have announced the launch of tools to help people make the break with less heartache when their relationship ends.
The idea is that when anybody changes their relationship status to single, they will be offered a series of options to stop them seeing their ex’s posts, and stop their ex seeing them.
Though this can already be achieved simply by unfriending/blocking people, facebook feel many people would prefer not to have to make such a sledgehammer demonstration of their wanting to remove themselves from the other person’s social media world.

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I expect we all know somebody who has gone through a break up made harder by social media – and in our very interwoven ibiza community on fb it must be doubly so. On the face of it this initiative by fb should be a good thing, but I don’t know. It feels wrong, like facebook thinks it can manage your emotions through algorithms? That it guides you through your options when in an emotionally vulnerable position – something close friends find difficult enough. Just feels a bit ‘2001 space odyssey HAL’ , it may start off being helpful, but fuelled by its own sense of superiority it becomes all controlling. What next a facebook compatibility assessment at the outset of a relationship, or reminders that your relationship status has been single for 6 months with a pop up list of what it considers will be ‘similarly desperate’ friends to choose from.
It doesn’t take to cynical a mind to wonder what is in it for them. How long will it be before these step by step tools include ‘would you like to join this matchmaker website?’ or ‘a range of specially selected lovehoney gadgets now you are gagging for it’.
Of course it already knows so much about us that we are its product. Targeted ads are an obvious example that gives weight to the commonly held view in technology that if you are not paying for a product, you are the product. But what we currently get is advertising, this is something more. I think I am much more comfortable with the technology i use being a series of ones and zeros, i don’t want it to be my friend. I don’t think we’d get along.
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Hard enough in Ibiza as such a small community without social media making it a whole lot harder, so perhaps a good initiative, but you’ll need to hold in there a little longer as it is being rolled out in the US first.

Their announcement is said to be the first in a series of care and compasion community tool and options.
Kelly Winters, Product Manager, talks the initiative through:-

“Starting today, we are testing tools to help people manage how they interact with their former partners on Facebook after a relationship has ended. When people change their relationship status to indicate they are no longer in a relationship, they will be prompted to try these tools.

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The tools give people the option to quickly and easily:

See less of a former partner’s name and profile picture around Facebook without having to unfriend or block them. Their posts won’t show up in News Feed and their name won’t be suggested when people write a new message or tag friends in photos.

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Limit the photos, videos or status updates that a former partner will see.

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Edit who can see their past posts with a former partner and untag themselves from posts with that person.

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We’re starting to test these tools today in the US on mobile, and we’ll make changes and roll them out further based on people’s feedback. All of these tools are optional, and people will be able to access them in the help center anytime.

This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives. We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control”

 

 

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