Creepy New Facebook Feature Broadcasts Your Posts From Last Year All Over Again: WHY??

Say What!? 5

If you're among the select number of Facebook users chosen to test-drive the social media site's newest feature, you may have noticed an additional tab in your news feed titled On This Day. On This Day does pretty much exactly what it sounds like it should: it displays your friends' status updates and other events from exactly one year ago.

The overall wayback-machine concept of showing what you were doing a year ago is interesting to me in theory. For instance, I absolutely love Photojojo's Time Capsule, which emails you year-old photos from your Flickr feed twice a month. Timehop is a neat app that displays old photos and updates from your phone's camera roll, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

But those are services that allow YOU to access YOUR OWN archived information. Facebook's decision to make everything you once shared new again to anyone who cares to click? Not cool. Not cool at all.

On This Day features year-old statuses from friends, but also a list on the side of the page that recaps other big milestones or events from the month. "Jane Doe moved to Seattle," say, or "Billy McFakeName had a baby boy." I suppose it's meant to trigger memories and create a sort of network-wide scrapbook effect, but to me it just feels invasive. I don't want my friends to be reminded of something I said or did one year ago. Maybe I'm proud of that exact moment and maybe I'm not, but either way, I don't want it trumpeted to my entire Facebook network.

It's not that my previous Facebook information isn't already available -- someone with enough time and interest could certainly keep scrolling back until they find my posts from a year ago or more. It's that I don't want all of my old photos and status updates essentially re-published. I honestly don't use Facebook very often so there isn't that much content to sift through, but would I choose to continually announce the one-year anniversary of every dumb thing that I've ever shared? NO I WOULD NOT.

I suppose there are plenty of folks who will find the On This Day feature charming or at least a fun distraction, but my guess is there will also be a stampede to opt out (if that's even possible). Some people may actually find they don't enjoy having a permanent 12-months-ago window wide open to the public ... because they've come to use Facebook in a much more private and conservative manner than they used to.

At any rate, it's yet another reminder to be careful about what you post, now that new friends -- and potential future employers! -- can so easily get a blast into your personal past.

What do you think about Facebook's On This Day feature?

Image via Mark Roy/Flickr



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Tricia Weis McKay

Last year my Facebook account had this feature added without my knowledge. It just happened to be a year to the day that I was excitedly posting about my step-father coming home from the hospital recovering from a heart attack. About 3 months later he passed away after spending 2 of those in the hospital. I was reminded daily of every feeling I had, every word I typed from the day he went back to the hospital till the day he died. Not something I needed or wanted!!!!!
What the FB powers that be failed to think of when they added this feature was, what if this feature reminds you of things you don't want to remember.

nonmember avatar charlie

Yet another reason to dislike Facebook.

2baby... 2babymomma

i think its neat and honestly if you don't want people to see things then don't post it to fb in the first place and you don't have to hit the button for it

nonmember avatar Lynn

I totally agree with you 2babymomma. I have never understood people who post every thought and emotion they experience to facebook. I like looking back at what I wrote a year ago, because I only post fun and/or superficial type of things to facebook. It is not the place to air out all of your emotions and dirty laundry. If you don't want people looking at it, don't post it. Period.

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