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Facebook's year review app gets a thumbs down

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Is there a 'don't like' button on Facebook? The reverse of the 'like' one? Because it seems most people didn't 'like' your year in review app.

Web-design consultant Eric Meyer wrote an emotional piece about it after viewing the picture of his daughter, who died of brain cancer earlier this year, in his news feed. 'Clip art partiers danced around a picture of my middle daughter, Rebecca, who is dead,' he wrote.

She died this year on her sixth birthday, less than 10 months after she was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.

"Yes, my year looked like that," he said. "My year looked like the now-absent face of my Little Spark. It was still unkind to remind me so tactlessly."

No consent on his part. No option for him to decide whether he'd like to be reminded of highlights, significant moments, memories or photos that were posted in the past year.

complaints

The Year in Review app kept coming up on his feed, rotating between fun backgrounds but always showing Rebecca, as if celebrating her death, until he finally clicked the drop-down arrow and said he didn't want to see it any more.

Other users had similar complaints. One shared a picture of her boyfriend's house on fire framed in the celebratory 'Year in Review' border. Others tweeted about how losses they suffered this year were billed in their news feed.

The product manager for the app has apologised for the pain it caused. But it's hard to fathom how anybody would think that everything that happened in a year was a highlight.

The feature has been tweaked (the slideshow ends with the words "It's been a great year!" rather than "See you next year!"), But it's another reminder of how automated technology doesn't automatically line up with our real lives.


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