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Facebook apologises for its 'Year in Review'.

We’ve all seen it pop up in our feed. And not just once.

This year, Facebook has pushed out to users a ‘Year in Review’ – a slideshow of your most ‘liked’ photos that you can opt to share with your friends.

But what Facebook failed to appreciate is this: 2014 wasn’t a great year for everyone. And the company has directly apologised to at least one person for whom the Year in Review feature brought back painful memories of a year he would rather forget.

“A picture of my daughter, who is dead. Who died this year.” (via Meyerweb.com)

For Eric Meyer, a photo of his recently deceased daughter appeared, surrounded by confetti, illustrations of people dancing and the joyful phrase “Eric, here’s what your year looked like!”.

In response, Eric wrote a blog post about Facebook’s “inadvertent…cruelty”

He starts, “I didn’t go looking for grief this afternoon, but it found me anyway.”

When Eric opened his Facebook account he was confronted with, “a picture of my daughter, who is dead. Who died this year.”

“Yes, my year looked like that,” he continued. “True enough. My year looked like the now-absent face of my little girl. It was still unkind to remind me so forcefully.”

Eric points out that the ‘Year in Review’ function was harmless in the majority of cases, because it was ”reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house.”

The function is  harmless in the majority of cases, because it was ”reminding people of the awesomeness of their years.”

But for those who had an awful year, it can be a nightmare: “For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.

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To show me Rebecca’s face and say “Here’s what your year looked like!” is jarring.”

Eric had some thoughtful advice for Facebook, “first, don’t pre-fill a picture until you’re sure the user actually wants to see pictures from their year. And second, instead of pushing the app at people, maybe ask them if they’d like to try a preview—just a simple yes or no. If they say no, ask if they want to be asked again later, or never again. And then, of course, honor their choices.”

In a statement to the Washington Post, Facebook’s Jonathan Gheller said he had reached out to Meyer and apologized for any pain the post has caused.

“[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy, “It’s valuable feedback,” Gheller said. “We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”

Other Facebook users have found that the app has delivered some perverse results:

Posted to Twitter with the note “My friend’s house burned down”. (via @neurodruid)

And others have opted to poke fun:

And then there’s:

Hopefully, Facebook will take Eric’s feedback on board for next year – and save people some pain.

Did you see your ‘Year in Review’? What did you think?

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