Facebook has once again learned the hard way that it’s difficult to maintain a product with as many users as the social network has. In fact, the company had to apologize after a blog post by an individual who had a particularly rough year, experienced the ‘Year in Review’ app in the worst way possible. Instead of highlighting the greatest moments of his year – like the app was intended to do – it showed him photographs and status updates from the passing of his daughter.
While ‘Year in Review’ is automatically generated by specific code that was written to pick out the most-trended pieces of information that were exchanged on the social network – it proved in this case – that the system is not without serious flaws. It also reinforces the broader issue that calls into question the need for an additional way to interact with statuses, photos, and more on Facebook. A simple ‘like’ button doesn’t do the trick anymore, and it’s time that Facebook acknowledge that.
Eric Meyer was the man who lost his daughter to a battle with brain cancer while she was just six years old, and then took to the internet to point out his frustration with the app and how it functioned. The entire ‘Year in Review’ for Meyer focused on a photo of his daughter – and added a caption that said “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” Meanwhile, Meyer was left reeling and wondering what he should do. When he took to his blog to unleash his frustration – he did so in a very poignant way. He did not call the social network out, he did not bellow his frustrations on every outlet he could find, and he did not call out the CEO or any other major players within the Facebook Company.
He simply made his points. And shortly thereafter, Jonathan Gheller, of Facebook, reached out to Meyer and apologized on behalf of the entire company. While the apology may seem small compared to the loss he experienced, Meyer pointed out that it was far more than what he expected to hear from Facebook. Meyer even went as far as to point out in another post that he felt bad about calling the Year in Review team out, like he did. Though few could blame him for his feelings, after dealing with one of the biggest losses any parent could experience.
Facebook has recently updated their Graph Search – allowing users to have a better search experience on the social network – and even eliminating Bing results from their search engine. Many have called this the biggest move the company has made in search since the inception of Graph Search to begin with. This issue though, the larger issue regarding how things are managed and monitored on the social network itself – via ‘Like button’ and comment feature, ultimately fall short – and at some point – even if it isn’t a ‘dislike button’ something will have to be added to the social network.