Facebook Memories are those posts that occasionally show up at the top of your news feed to remind you of something you posted on the same day in a previous year. A lot of times these posts make you smile—engagement announcements; your kids’first day of school; nights out with your besties; work successes.
But sometimes those Memories have the exact opposite effect: pics of family members who are no longer with you; breakups and layoffs; the day you said goodbye to a beloved pet.
I think the reason this happens is that Facebook’s famous algorithm decides what posts to show you partly based on how many reactions and comments you get on them. And I know in my case, when I post about losses and disappointments, I often get the most reactions from people trying to make me feel better or just sending a show of support. But that doesn’t mean I want to be reminded of the event that precipitated the support.
Facebook does have a couple of features to reduce the number of times negative Memories show up, by letting you remove posts from On This Day based on who’s mentioned in them or the dates they were posted.
NOTE: Facebook can’t entirely prevent you from seeing sad posts, of course. For example, if a friend of yours posts a picture with your ex without actually tagging them, it’s quite possible you’ll see it. But at least those aren’t going to show up as featured Memories for you.
How To Customize Your On This Day Settings
Go to facebook.com/onthisday, where you’ll see all posts from the current day in earlier years. At the top right are two buttons for Notifications and Preferences.
Notifications is an all-or-nothing proposition, i.e. you either get notified about all On This Day posts or none of them. Note that selecting Off will not prevent Memories from showing up in your news feed. It will just prevent you from seeing a notification in the Facebook top nav bar.
In the Preferences dialog box, you can stop Memories from appearing if certain people are tagged in them or if from certain dates.
With the former, you do not need to be friends with them to add them, which is good for situations where you used to be friends with someone but are not any longer.
For the latter, you can add multiple dates, including ranges, which can be helpful if you know there was a stretch of time where you were posting things that you would rather not be reminded of.
I don’t really credit Facebook for providing these options, because it seems to me there are better ways they could do this. For example:
- Allow you to turn off Memories altogether
- Let you exclude posts that contain keywords of your choice
- Add a checkmark to the Post box so you can say at the time of posting that you don’t want it added to On This Day
Until and unless any of those options are offered, however, I hope that you can use this information to prevent as many upsetting posts as possible from showing up in your feed.
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