Facebook Apologizes To Bereaved Father For ‘Year In Review’
Facebook rolled out a new feature this December called “Year In Review,” a post that showed up on users’ News Feeds highlighting their most popular photos of the year. Users could view their Year In Review and choose to share it with friends with a line reading “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”
For some, however, 2014 was not such a “great year,” and some were upset to see these automatically generated posts appear in their News Feeds. Web design consultant and writer Eric Meyer was disturbed to see that his Year In Review featured photos of his daughter, who died this year.
“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,” Meyer wrote in a blog post last Wednesday.
“To show me Rebecca’s face and say ‘Here’s what your year looked like!’ is jarring,” Meyer wrote. “It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate.” The Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson highlighted Meyer’s blog in a story Friday, bringing it to Facebook’s attention.
Facebook expressed remorse for the accident in its response. “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s Year in Review app told the Post. The team is considering ways to improve the Year In Review, he said. Gheller also personally emailed Meyer an apology.
In a blog posted Saturday called “Well, That Escalated Quickly,” Meyer said he did not expect an apology from Facebook. In fact, he says he didn’t even expect that anyone but his close friends and family would read his blog.
“So the first thing I want to say: I owe the Year in Review team in specific, and Facebook in general, an apology. No, not the other way around,” Meyer wrote. He said that the email from Gheller was “sincerely apologetic,” and Meyer is sorry that he “dropped the Internet on his head for Christmas. He and his team didn’t deserve it.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to request for further comment from The Huffington Post.
[H/T: Huffington Post]