Why The World Needed The Facebook Memories Opt-Out Feature

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Apparently, on June 10, 2011 I was madly in love. I had a boyfriend named Mark, whom I spent every waking hour talking to, when late-night phone calls were still cool. To commemorate this joyous, teenage union, we snapped a picture from our anniversary, captioned with a heartfelt love letter. Cute, right?

But five years later, as I lounged on the couch with my best friend, single and discussing how slim the bachelor market was, I wasn’t quite able to see the cute factor when Facebook posted that image on my newsfeed reading: On this day, you posted a picture with Mark, caption and all.

Facebook’s “On This Day” or memories feature took me on an unwarranted trip down memory lane. And just when I thought I’d be revisited by the ghost of boyfriend’s and high school’s past, Facebook introduced its opt-out feature, which eliminated the option of going back in time. Now, you can delete images of your drunken party days or images of the guy you thought you’d marry. Thank goodness! But whether you had a ‘Mark’ or just an insanely, embarrassing moment, this is why Facebook needed an opt-out – because let’s face it, not everything needs to be lived twice.

1. We need closure

Arguably, every day some one is telling their best friend they “moved on,” they are so over that break up. And as friends, of course we believe them, until we’re sitting their patting their back as they blow through a box of tissues. But wait, didn’t they move on? That was until they rediscovered the picture of the once happy couple enjoying a beautiful day at the park, which rehashed a series of memories. The picture is beautiful – truly a Kodak moment – but in all of its beauty, they forgot what happened merely moments after the picture was taken, a big fight erupted. Not looking to revisit anyone’s logical-thinking class, but opting out means no picture; no picture means no revisited feelings; and no more feelings means closure.

2. The Cyber “Bump In”

Back when the world was simple and the Internet wasn’t a thing, you broke up with some one or you switched friend groups and you never had to see them again. It was great! But when it comes to Facebook memories, there isn’t a world too big for the cyber world. Facebook’s feature allows a picture from five year’s ago that you shared with your ex-best friend to show up on your feed with the same caption and tag. This is the cyber “bump in,” casually bumping into the one person that you swore you would never talk to again.

3. Out of sight, out of mind

We need closure on the relationships that we thought were right, but we also need to keep the door locked on the relationships that we absolutely knew were no good. Hence, out of sight out of mind. That relationship with the guy who cheated on you with your best friend, or the girl who obsessively called at all hours of the night thankfully won’t be haunting you in your sleep or boiling your blood any longer. Like mom always said, what’s in the past is in the past, and should really stay there.

4. A year in review: a year of mediocrity

As if one blast from the past wasn’t enough, Facebook gifted us with a year of life in review, filled with some triumphs, but a load of fails and awkward moments. Reflection is great, but without the opt-out button, many of us would be looking back on that awful outfit we chose to wear to a concert, the epic fail of trying the Kylie-lip challenge, and surprise, another bad breakup to the person everyone told us would never call back.

5. Stupid moments

Speaking of the Kylie-lip challenge, there were some other questionable moments that no one should relive. There’s no such thing as a stupid question (debatable) but a stupid moment definitely exists, including the one from freshman year when you posted a picture holding a red, plastic cup and an animated expression. Great at the time, but not the best for landing that job at a major corporation.

For every bad memory, there are a handful of nostalgic ones. But just in case that glaring mistake from life’s past decides to come knocking on your feed, it’s good to know you can opt-out.

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