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Facebook apologises for Year in Review feature

Luke Johnson

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Facebook

Facebook has apologised for its Year in Review feature after users complained of the images selected to highlight their years.

A free-to-use service which automatically selects images from users’ accounts to recap their time in 2014, Year in Review received criticisms for its at times less than tactful picture choices.

Examples of the feature’s issues include the use of images of a person’s house on fire and pictures of users’ recently deceased relatives.

Tragically, the flaws of Year in Review were highlighted when one user, Eric Meyer, was confronted with pictures of his six year old daughter who died earlier in the year.

Describing the feature’s image selection as “jarring” and “wrong”, Mr Meyer has received a formal apology from Facebook after his story went viral.

Although acknowledging that Facebook’s mishap was far form a directed attack, Meyer, speaking in a blog post stated: “This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works only in the overwhelming majority of cases.

He added: “The Year in Review ad keeps coming up in my feed. There wasn’t enough thought given to cases like mine or anyone who had a bad year.

“The design is for the ideal user, the happy, upbeat, good-life user. It doesn’t take other user cases into account.”

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With Meyer having received a public apology from Facebook Product Manager Jonathan Gheller, the social media head told the Washington Post that Facebook has stated looking at ways to improve the Year in Review algorithm.

He stated: "[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy.”

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