Doing Business | IT & Technologies

November 20, 2015

Facebook Tests 'Break-Up' Tools

Breaking up is hard to do - especially on Facebook.

There's no feeling quite like the tightening of the stomach you get when you accidentally stumble across an old post involving you and a former loved one in happier times.

It's even more brutal when you notice that person's surname has since changed.

I'm told.

Anyway. The world's biggest social network has just announced that it is trialling new tools to make it less painful when handling a relationship gone sour.

Right now, if you decide you don't want to be reminded of a certain someone's existence on planet Earth, you would need to unfriend or block them.

The problem is that they will most likely find out you've done that, which isn't exactly ideal - nothing says "playing it cool" like blocking someone on Facebook.

Relationships on Facebook are a big deal - a judge in New York said using Facebook to send a divorce summons was completely legal.

Facebook's new break-up tool is about altering what an ex can see, but without them knowing you've done anything.

The tool allows people to:

  • "See less of a former partner's name and profile picture around Facebook without having to unfriend or block them. Their posts won't show up in News Feed and their name won't be suggested when people write a new message or tag friends in photos."
  • "Limit the photos, videos or status updates that a former partner will see."
  • "Edit who can see their past posts with a former partner and untag themselves from posts with that person."

When Facebook first launched on college campuses, it was essentially a database of relationship statuses. A kind of digital traffic light party that saved everyone a lot of time.

But more recently, we've become a lot more coy about declaring love and relationships on Facebook. You rarely see people opting to enable the "it's complicated" option for relationships on the rocks, and instead we're now prompted to post about more concrete life events like getting engaged or having a baby.

Or maybe that's just because I'm getting older.

Regardless, the new tool will be rolled out globally soon, Facebook said.

"This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives," wrote Kelly Winters, a Facebook product manager.

"We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control."

If you're a mobile user in the US you can try out the tool right now by, er, breaking up with someone.

I'm all for being an early adopter of new tech, but that's probably going a bit far.

 

Text by BBC
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