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14.34
Facebook hides photos of your ex so you don't have to
Added by: Ankh
Friday, 22 Oct 2010, 14.34

Ideally, in a world (or a social network) occupied by grown-ups, we would each deal with relationships gone south without passive-aggressive status updates, ex-stalking, profile flame wars and the formation of Facebook groups demanding that the world's largest social network take responsibility for our emotions. Yet, even as Facebook's demographic moves further away from its 13-year-old age minimum for membership, that's just not the case.

"Photo Memories" is the Facebook feature most recently under ex-sensitive scrutiny. Launched in May, Photo Memories appears at the top right side of the user's profile with not-so-fresh photos culled from newsfeeds other than those you own that are tagged with the names of one or more of your Facebook friends. Much like the algorithm tweak of 2009 that caused Facebook to suggest you "reconnect" with someone you haven't Facebook-communicated with recently (maybe because that Facebook "friend" is your ex), you can see how this can get uncomfortable.
Hence the humorous tagline for the nearly 600-member strong Facebook group I HATE PHOTO MEMORIES, "PHOTO MEMORIES: A daily slap in the Facebook. We hate you. Go away." Given how so much of our increasingly intense relationship with the world's largest social network revolves around griping about it, it actually feels sort of uncomfortable to find out Facebook is taking notice of Photo Memories malcontents and taking action.
"I'd like to let you know that we're listening to your feedback," Facebook's photos project manager Sam Odio posted on Inside Facebook, just six months after the feature officially launched. "The photo memories product no longer shows tagged photos of your friends if you were previously in a relationship with them."
Note, this algorithm update bars your ex's tormenting visage from Photo Memories if, and only if, you officially announced your relationship not so much in the eyes of God, but Facebook.
Otherwise, that undeclared ex, along with your estranged great auntie or that backstabbing co-worker who totally ate your tuna fish sammich, may very well continue to haunt your profile, his or her unsettling softball picnic pic possibly popping up every time you log on -- causing you to breakdown at your desk, alerting all your co-workers that, in fact, you're totally not doing your job but wasting time (and tears) on Facebook instead.
But hey, know what would've quelled that heartache a lot faster than the comparatively short time Facebook took to address your pity party? Blocking your ex!
"If you have blocked someone on Facebook, they will not show up in Photo Memories," a Facebook spokesperson confirmed via e-mail. "Whenever you block someone, it is as if they are no longer on Facebook. You cannot contact them and they cannot contact you."
See how easy?
You wouldn't ask Facebook to make your ex leave a cocktail party, would you? And you can always unblock the jerk once you're ready to be "just friends."
Certainly, the heartbroken deserve all sympathy and support, as do those (like myself) who put food on the floor for our families by writing down the (often) obvious on how to deal with this brave new world of social media -- which really, isn't that much different from the brave old world. There's just more code involved.
It's not good to pick scabs, in either world. They get infected. If you can't stop yourself, sometimes it's just best to grab the duct tape and a pair of oven mitts. (The ones that look like lobster claws are especially amusing.) Just block the jerk and get on with what's important in life -- like that orphaned baby cow wandering around on your Facebook farm. Someone's got to adopt the poor thing!
Helen A.S. Popkin is always going "blah blah blah" about Facebook, then she asks you to Friend her or follow her on Twitter ...because that's how she rolls.

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