Breaking up is Hard to Do: Facebook Tests Tools to Manage Broken Relationships

by Matt Klassen on December 1, 2015

Relationships have always been complicated, people fumbling about trying to understand the wants and needs of other equally complex human beings. Introduce that chaotic mess of emotion to the digital realm, though, and things just seem to get that much worse.

But while it may be difficult to find and manage relationships in the digital realm, it can be extremely difficult to end them as well, as that unending data feed from our favourite social networks often mean that we continue to be inundated with reminders of those former significant others and, as comedian John Oliver recently quipped, the fact that your ex is getting on with their life and, yes, you’re not imagining it, they’re absolutely happier than they have ever been.

On a slightly more serious note though, while ending relationships has always been hard, it has been relatively easy to manage that breakup in the real world, as all one would conceivably need to do is remove reminders and avoid the person in question. Things in the digital realm, however, are significantly more difficult, and those constant reminders can actually negatively impact our ability to recover from breakups and move on with our lives. But never fear, Facebook thinks it has the answer.

To that end, Facebook has once again come to the rescue, announcing last week that it will be testing tools that will allow users to better manage their post-breakup digital lives, including ways for limiting interactions with exes and allowing users to un-tag themselves from what for some may be a lengthy and involved online connection (photos, videos etc…).

“Today social media means that you are guaranteed to run into your ex, and he or she might very well be wrapped around a new partner,” relationship expert Wendy Walsh said in an interview with TechNewsWorld, adding “Research has shown that those who don’t disconnect electronically have a harder time getting over a breakup.”

The simple fact of the matter is that the more you see your ex online, the more you stay connected to that past relationship, the more difficulty you have moving on to a new relationship.

While again only in their testing phase (and currently only available on mobile devices), one tool in Facebook’s new breakup kit lets users restrict how much they see from former lovers on the social network itself, an extension of the current tool that lets you stem the tide of cute cat videos your lovely Aunt posts ad nauseam.

Further, and definitely connected to the first, the tools will ensure that an ex’s posts won’t show up in a user’s news feed and Facebook won’t prompt you to re-friend them when others you know continue to connect with them online.

The third tool allows users to restrict photos, videos, or status updates that your ex might see, and a fourth tool will let users edit past posts with their former partners and un-tag themselves from the litany of mutual selfies that likely exist online.

But again, many of these tools aren’t new per se, but have been re-purposed for the specific intention of helping users get over previous relationships; creating virtual barriers in hopes of avoiding those awkward social encounters were both parties pretend that everything is going great, encounters that can be just as difficult online as they are in person.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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