Forever fans of nostalgia, Facebook is launching another feature today that lets users take a look back at past moments on the site. It’s called “On This Day”, and you can check out your own memory lane stroll right here.
You’ve likely seen friends cross-posting from an app called Timehop, and it’s clear that Facebook decided to capitalize on its popularity with its own feature. Both On This Day and Timehop let people look back at posts they made and interactions they had exactly one year ago, two years ago, five years ago, etc – but Timehop draws from other social networks. On This Day, obviously, only pulls from Facebook activity.
Your personal On This Day page is only accessible to you, thank god. Once you’re on the page you can choose if you want to share past memories with everyone else. You can also edit and delete your old posts, just in case you realize you said something incredibly stupid last year.
Facebook also allows you to set up notifications for when you have new content from the app. Facebook’s help page says that “you may see some of your memories in your News Feed,” so be prepared for when you open your app and your drunk college self is staring back at you.
The popularity of Timehop is proof of concept for this type of app. People love looking back and reminiscing. The only issue with something like this is that not all memories are good ones. There’s a lot of painful shit in people’s Facebook pasts.
You might recall that Facebook was forced into an apology after its “Year in Review” app dug up some pretty terrible memories for some users. Not only that, but it juxtaposed said memories with happier ones, creating a very odd scenario. One case in particular involved a father being shown photos of his dead daughter, who he’d just lost to brain cancer, alongside photos of parties and other happy occasions.
He made his story public and Facebook apologized. Hard.
You better believe that Facebook would never launch anything else like that unless they built some decent safeguards. According to TechCrunch, Facebook will algorithmically filter out old memories involving exes and those who’ve passed away – for the news feed stories. You’ll see all content from said day on the actual On This Day page.
Now, whether or not this algorithm is foolproof remains to be seen. I’m going to go with probably not. We’ll see.