Watch Live: The Washington Ideas Forum 2014

Facebook's Undead

Facebook's social algorithms can create some awkward situations. A friend once joked that the "People You May Know" box should be labeled, "People You Know, But Don't Really Like."

But, Jenna Wortham reports, some of the site's automatic suggestions may create much more emotionally fraught situations.
 

Tamu Townsend, a 37-year-old technical writer in Montreal, said she regularly received prompts to connect with acquaintances and friends who had died. "Sometimes it's quite comforting when their faces show up," Ms. Townsend said. "But at some point it doesn't become comforting to see that. The service is telling you to reconnect with someone you can't. If it's someone that has passed away recently enough, it smarts."

And actuarially speaking, with more older people joining the network, the once rare ghost-in-the-machine problem will soon be much more common.

Via Steve Silberman

Presented by

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy. It's very organized."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Technology

Just In