Facebook officials are apologizing for the social network’s “Year in Review” feature that is being blamed for the mental breakdown of a Florida man who claims he was traumatized after having to endure looking at a cutesy photographic collage of what he describes as “the worst year” of his life.
Nathan Wood, a former supermarket manager from Lansing, Michigan, says he was not paying much attention when Facebook put an advertisement on his timeline for his “Year in Review.” After clicking on it, he fell back in horror upon seeing the last photo of him and his ex-wife.
“There it was, like a stick in my one remaining eye: a summary of my entire miserable year, starting in January with the discovery of [ex-wife] Laura’s infidelity, right up to last week when doctors said they’d have to amputate my leg,” the 32-year-old said from his hospital bed.
The Facebook review contained pastel-colored reminders of Wood’s divorce and subsequent retraining order, as well as his trial and short imprisonment after he tried but failed to set fire to his ex-wife’s boyfriend’s truck. The review also recounted the subsequent awful months, during which Wood lost his job and apartment, afterwards spending several months living in his car in Florida before he drunkenly crashed it into a tree, sending him to the hospital where he was put in a full body cast. After being presented with a medical bill for $100,000, Wood learned that he had lost an eye and that doctors wanted to amputate his shattered leg.
“Shit,” Wood said. “Shitty McShit Shit.”
A spokesperson for Facebook says the “Year in Review” feature uses an algorithm to select a user’s most important posts of the year, and she blames Wood’s unpleasant experience on the tendency of users to “like” posts that contain bad or tragic news. Company executives are said to be mulling over an option that would remove any post that might upset users, such as by automatically deleting any item containing phrases like “I’m so sad” and “R.I.P. my beloved dog.”