I am pissed. I just found out that there really is no way to opt out of the ridiculously contrived Memory feature that literally makes me want to scream every time it pops up — announced and unwarranted.
I actually did let out a scream the morning that I was riding the bus to work in Los Angeles. If anyone of you have any inkling of what that experience is like — then I am sure you can imagine the level of my disposition. I was trying to escape into my phone my — erratically moving from Twitter to Facebook as I plowed each timeline while holding on to the filthy bar to keep from falling into the person standing right behind me.
Twitter was clogged with tweets from folks that were having a much better start to the day than I was so I decided to head back to Facebook. I hit the logo and once my page pulled up — there it was.
What the fuck?! Why was I staring at a photo of myself carrying my niece. I didn’t post that. I mean technically I did. Two years ago! Then I realize that this isn’t a cruel joke. It’s Facebook’s attempt to tug at my heart strings by reminding me of that time when my hair looked like shit. I had just started wearing glasses and I was attending my niece’s birthday party. Gee thanks!
Let me break it down. You would assume a niece’s birthday celebration would be the sort of thing anybody would want to recall fondly. But life isn’t always that simple.
I was happy to be part of the festivities but the event itself wasn’t necessarily fun for me. I had to endure being around my brother’s friends who are all married and way younger than me. They basically made it obvious that I was the odd one out of the bunch.
There were other variables that I won’t get into because none of us have the time. But worst of all — I hated the way I looked. I only posted the photo because my adorable niece was in it and it was part of the family album. I never intended it to haunt me two years later. But there it was.
My first instinct was to smash my phone against the dashboard of the bus — but that would have been a tragic mistake for me and everyone on board. So — I took deep breaths and quickly removed the damning pic from my timeline. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. The last time was this past summer. It was a picture from the time I spent in New Orleans. This was definitely not a period I wanted to remember with undiluted joy.
I had moved there in the fall of 2014 — hoping to make a fresh start after pointlessly toiling away in New York for over a decade. As luck would have it, the friend that I thought I knew, who had graciously opened up her home to me — turned out to be a hoarder.
After three months of sheer madness and a nagging skin infection, I made my way back to New York. I took tons of pictures of the city while I was there and there were a few of me and the girl who ruined my life.
Of course the one that depicted me with my ex-friend at a function made the cut. I was livid. Again — I quickly removed it and spent the rest of the day trying to release my mind from obsessing over the worst decision I ever made.
The point of all this is that Facebook has no right to invasively pry into my album of “memories” with no knowledge of who I am or what those images represent — and then proceed to aimlessly and carelessly select a random photo that they believe will start my day off with emotional fireworks.
It is unfair and creepy to be subjected to a ritual that I never signed up for and I need it to stop.
Almost a year ago — a father’s essay about his exploitatively tragic experience with Facebook’s ill-mannered “Year In Review” went viral.
Eric Meyer’s daughter Rebecca died of brain cancer on her sixth birthday in early 2014. Against his will — the heartbroken and still grieving father had to partake in the mandatory “Here’s What Your Year Looked Like” which entailed images of his dearly departed daughter.
Of course Facebook apologized but even their statement was condescendingly formulated as they slyly mentioned that “The app was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy”.
No shit. So why are you still mind-fucking your users? Seriously — this has to stop. We should have the option of being able to control whatever “memories” we are willing to revisit — and we should be able to do it when and if we want to.
I hate surprises. I like to be in control of everything and anything that pertains to me. There is nothing worse than being laid out in full display without an inkling of what is transpiring. Yes, I have control over what gets logged into my photo album but doesn’t that mean that I get to delegate what I want showcased and what I would prefer to keep under wraps?
I don’t need to have an unnecessary trip down memory lane. I basically keep my carefully categorized testimonies in my head — which is shamefully large enough to accommodate it all.
I don’t need buttheads in Silicon Valley to program the systems to effectively pull stock from my personalized portal — without my permission. It’s alarming, jarring, annoying, and insulting.
It also makes me question the authenticity of a product that swears up and down that it is for you but yet proves without a doubt that it’s against you.
How can you be rallying for me when you are willing to sell me out in order to secure your bid for the next hundred years? It’s business— I get it. You have to come up with innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition and if it’s at the expense of your users — so be it.
I like Facebook. It has given me the opportunity to connect and engage with friends from around the globe. It has afforded me a way to propel connectivity in ways I never could have imagined was possible.
But — I will not hesitate to erase all of that from my “memory” if this destructive feature continues to hover without any filter.
We need to get Facebook to stop haunting us with visions from the past. Are you down? If so — lets make it happen!