Facebook apologizes for popping up unwarranted Year In Review messages in users timeline

If you are spending a lot of time you may have noticed an irritating popup from Facebook called “Year In Review.” The “Year In Review” automatically gathers a selection of the most liked photos from your feeds and pop up messages into your timeline with a tagline declaring “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”

It may sound freaking awesome but in case you have put up a photo of  death of a near and dear one in the family, and the photo has been most liked, Facebook’s Year In Review algorithm will rather cruelly put up that photo in your timeline with a rather inhumane and insensitive tag “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”

That’s exactly what happened to prominent web designer and writer Eric Meyer.  Facebook forced Meyer to relive the utter horror of losing his baby, who had died on 6th birthday in June, 2014 after suffering from brain tumour.  Meyer who is barely out of the grief of his immense personal loss was flabbergasted to see the photo and the very inhumane tagline. He summed it up aptly on his blog,

“I didn’t go looking for grief this afternoon, but it found me anyway, and I have designers and programmers to thank for it. In this case, the designers and programmers are somewhere at Facebook.”

Meyer called it a “algorithmic cruelty” on part of Facebook’s engineers who through the “Year In Review” app forced him to relive the horrors of the moment of his daughters death. From his blog, “Still, they were easy enough to pass over, and I did. Until today, when I got this in my feed, exhorting me to create one of my own. “Eric, here’s what your year looked like!”

Facebook apologizes for its, "year in review" app which comes out as a 'algorithmic cruelty' for many users

“A picture of my daughter, who is dead. Who died this year.” Meyer added, “Yes, my year looked like that. True enough. My year looked like the now-absent face of my little girl. It was still unkind to remind me so forcefully.”

The Year in Review popup may workout to be great for some while it may cause insurmountable pain to others to who have put up a image of  their near and dear ones lost in the year and if photo is picked up by Facebook’s algorithm to declare it has been a great year for them.

Meyer said he had known about the Year In Review popup but for obvious reasons had avoided making his own.  But that day, he felt helpless on seeing the popup in his timeline,

“To show me Rebecca’s face and say “Here’s what your year looked like!” is jarring. It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate. These are hard, hard problems. It isn’t easy to programmatically figure out if a picture has a ton of Likes because it’s hilarious, astounding, or heartbreaking,” Meyer added, “Algorithms are essentially thoughtless. They model certain decision flows, but once you run them, no more thought occurs.”

Meyer, who is a web designer himself, knows the shortcomings in coding and algorithms vis-a-vis human emotions but he reminded Facebook that certain things should not be let to run.  Meyer recommended Facebook not to “pre-fill” any pictures until making sure the user actually wants to see them. He suggested that Facebook would been better off asking users opinion before dishing out such popups in the timeline.

Facebook apologises

Facebook has apologized for this offending error of its judgement. “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” the product manager for Facebook’s “Year in Review” app, Jonathan Gheller, told The Washington Post. “We can do better – I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”


Facebook is developing an “artificial assistant” tool to stop you posting while you are drunk

In last few years,  Facebook is doing a lot of work to create more awareness in the society. Facebook always try to make their social network more interesting and helpful for the people. But, in the website everyone is free to share anything they want. This may help us to share our thoughts and opinion with freedom. We can be connected with out own people. But wait ! what happens when you are drunk and using facebook ?

On that time, this freedom may break relationships, keep your own people away from you or your boss may say get lost to you. Because you can post anything that can hurt or expose something that you don’t want to show to anyone .

To overcome this problem, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research department chief Yann LeCun has said they are developing an “artificial assistant” who will recognise when you are about to post a selfie of your night out that you may not want your boss/parent to see.

He told Wired the “intelligent digital assistant” would tell you (virtually) “Uh, this is being posted publicly. Are you sure you want your boss and your mother to see this?”

Facebook will also notify you when someone you don’t know publishes a picture of you without your explicit approval. “You will have a single point of contact to mediate your interaction but also to protect your private information,” LeCun said.

The tool would recognise the difference between a user’s drunken and sober state through facial recognition technology.

This is kind of same idea some of you may have seen in the movie “The internship” where they talked about developing a beta app for the same purpose but that was for only messaging , now implementing this in the whole site will be a relatively difficult step . And though applying “facial recognition” in relatively slow internet connection  will be hard to implement i think . But that’s my view I am looking forward to their implementation and eventually we will see the user’s feedback of it . Apparently I am excited that they are going to apply another new technology in the site            . images (2)