Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty

I know a few people in my timeline that fell victim to Facebook’s latest ill-conceived attempt to shoehorn itself into our lives. I saw these popping up in December, and decided against opting in–then I saw that they built one for me and shoved it in my face with a prompt to post.

Bad form, Facebook. “Opt-In” is ALWAYS a better marketing strategy when dealing with people’s private lives and personal data, especially in this era of increased concerns over privacy. This is just another reason to flee the walled gardens for the freedom of the World Wide Web.

I know they’re probably pretty proud of the work that went into the “Year in Review” app they designed and developed, and deservedly so—a lot of people have used it to share the highlights of their years. Knowing what kind of year I’d had, though, I avoided making one of my own. I kept seeing them pop up in my feed, created by others, almost all of them with the default caption, “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” Which was, by itself, jarring enough, the idea that any year I was part of could be described as great.

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