Relationships can be complicated enough without the added stresses of social media, from the initial adding-as-a-friend to the official changing of your relationship status. But the place it gets most awkward by far is when you’re breaking up, because even if they’re no longer a physical presence in your life, Facebook means you can still obsess over them. It depends on the nature of the breakup, but sometimes after a relationship ends, the last thing you want to see is your ex plastered all over your news feed because Facebook’s interaction frequency algorithm has all the sensitivity of salt on an open wound.
Fortunately, it seems Facebook is making efforts to be a bit more sensitive to the needs of its users and make it easier for them to protect themselves from emotional harm by testing a set of features on mobile that will allow you to limit the amount of content that is shown to your exes featuring you, and the amount of content you can see featuring them.
The features, announced in a blog post yesterday, will become available when you change your relationship status to single. Essentially you’ll be able to limit the number of status updates, pictures, and videos you’re able to see featuring your ex. Furthermore, their name will no longer appear in suggested people to message or tag and you’ll be given the option of automatically untagging or limiting the visibility of posts and photos that feature you and the person in question. You can either go through each post individually and decide for yourself or opt for the rip-off-the-plaster digital obliteration approach. Each seems to be pretty cathartic in its own way.
The feature will also allow you to decide how much of your content your ex will be able to see. You can choose to hide all of your posts from that person, aside from those that you actively decide they can see. Like that killer selfie you know you look amazing in.
It should be noted, however, that you will still be able to go to your ex’s Facebook page, providing they haven’t limited the content you can see. Facebook’s privacy settings do not, unfortunately, extend to curbing self-destructive tendencies.
Currently the feature is being tested only in the US mobile app, but Facebook has said it has plans to roll the feature out more widely once they receive the feedback from this particular test.
It’s kind of nice to see Facebook making their privacy settings more easily accessible and beneficial to users, unlike the debacle that Facebook Memories has been. Of course, before now there was always the option of blocking the person in question, or deleting them from your network of friends, but when it comes to romantic relationships Facebook can still prove to be a bit of a social minefield. Perhaps you share mutual friends and you don’t want to create awkwardness, perhaps it ended on a reasonably friendly note but you just want to spare yourself the pain of seeing them constantly. Or maybe you want to spare them the pain of being deleted, but you really don’t want them to see everything that’s happening in your awesome life without them.
Whatever the case, we welcome the addition of any feature that shows Facebook is being more considerate with regards to the content it serves its readers.
Main image via Flickr © Charis Tsevis