Facebook knows you're breaking up

OPINION

  • "The Break-Up"
"The Break-Up"
November 04, 2013|By Jen Kim, @thisjenkim | For RedEye

Dear Facebook,

You have been present for so many of my  relationship milestones. I was with you when I experienced my first "poke." You were basically the reason I was able to stalk any of my crushes (thank you for that). You were the first I confided in that I was "in a relationship." And I was with you when I discovered that my ex was cheating on me.

We've been through so much together. And I freely admit (albeit with a bit of embarrassment) that you've played a major role in helping me with my love life.

You are, after all, the Khaleesi of the Internets, commanding more of my (and everyone else's) time than Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google+ combined.

But it turns out, you've been going behind my back and being kind of sketch.

What business is it of yours to tell me when my relationship is going to end?

Yes, Facebook, I know everything. I know your researchers have developed an algorithm that can correctly identify whom I'm dating and when my relationship will end. I know that it's based on a metric called "dispersion," which measures the number of friend connections my significant other and I have in common.

You think that the more friends a couple shares, the longer they'll stay together. And you assume that if your algorithm doesn't accurately predict whom someone is dating, then that couple is more likely to break up within two months.

Frankly, this is none of your beeswax. And I'm annoyed that you think it is.

I've defended you when people accused you of breaching all sorts of privacy laws and pimping out users' personal information to anyone who'd pay for it.

I get that you need to make money. You like money. Everyone likes money. And I get that if you're going to remain a free service, you're going to have to make money elsewhere. So in order to do that, folks need to be comfortable sanctioning some NSA-style surveillance on their profiles from time to time.

I'm cool with that.

It's the price I must pay to show my friends those super-important photos of last night's dinner and those oh-so-hilarious "condescending Wonka" memes that have mysteriously appeared in my newsfeed every 10 minutes for the last three years.

But I'm not cool with you messing with my love life. I'll tell you personal stuff from time to time, but that doesn't mean you're invited to go all Dr. Phil on me.

And while I'm used to you exploiting me for monetary gain, I have to ask: What do you gain from predicting the demise of my relationship?

What's in it for you? Do you have a deal with Kleenex? Are you going to start tailoring special ads to people wallowing in misery? Are you planning to add a "recently dumped" relationship status?

I don't care what the reason is. I don't even want to know. All I have to say is this: You and me—we're through.

Sincerely,

Jen

P.S. Did you predict this breakup, jerk?

Jen Kim is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

RedEye Chicago Articles
|
|
|