In response to numerous complaints, Facebook has changed its Photo Memories sidebar module to no longer display friends who a user was formally listed as in a relationship with. The feature shows thumbnails of old photos tagged with friends while a user browse photos, friends, or other sections of the site, but often made users sad by showing them images of their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends.
The algorithm that determines whose photos are shown in Photo Memories relied on which friends you frequently interact with on Facebook. Users typically interact heavily with their boyfriends and girlfriends, leading the feature to disproportionately show them. After users had severed their relationship, both in real life and on Facebook, Photo Memories would still show users their former significant others, making it difficult for people to get over them.
Our initial post about Photo Memories received dozens of heartfelt pleas for more control over the feature, or the ability to turn it off. For example, a commenter named Julie said, “It keeps showing pics of my ex and their new significant other and it makes me sick! I’m still in love and I’m trying to move on but it’s ridiculously hard when every time I log on, their face pops up on the right hand of screen.” An old Facebook group deploring the feature reached over 500 members.
Last night, Facebook’s project manager in charge of photos, Sam Odio, commented on the post saying, “Hi All – I’d like to let you know that we’re listening to your feedback. The photo memories product no longer shows tagged photos of your friends if you were previously in a relationship with them.” While users may still see Photo Memories of their former romantic partners if they didn’t declare the relationship on Facebook, as well of their current partner with that person’s former partners, the change should help heal the heartache for many users.
On behalf of our commenters we’d like to thank Facebook for being so attentive. We’d also like to remind users that they’re welcome to express their opinions about Facebook features on our comment reels.