Breaking up has never been harder than it is in the Internet age. And in recognition of this tragic and undisputed fact, Facebook, on Thursday, began testing a new tool to make it easier.
From now on, the company said in an announcement, users will have some additional privacy options when they change their relationship status to “single.” Among other things, you’ll be able to easily hide your ex’s posts from appearing in your News Feed in the future, and prevent Facebook from suggesting his or her name when you tag photos. The new tool will also make it simpler to limit what your ex sees about you after a breakup and to delete yourself from their posts and photos.
Alas, the new features — currently only available to mobile users in the United States — will not solve the other quandaries of singlehood, like how to get your stuff back from her apartment or what to do about your mutual friends. This will also have no effect on the greatest vexation of the Facebook breakup: namely, the network’s insistence that you “may know” your ex, long after you’ve unfriended him.
That handy feature is powered by the magic of network topology, a math/science in which Facebook uses all the information it knows about you to estimate blanks in its network. If you and Taylor aren’t friends on Facebook, but you still share a hometown, favorite bar and 84 mutual friends, Facebook may very well suggest that you friend Taylor again.
This feature, as we’ve written before, is not going anywhere; it’s in Facebook’s best interest to max out your number of friends. Besides, this new tool is for friendlier, more passive-aggressive breakups! The kind where you want to look really chill and over it … but actually don’t ever want to see your ex’s face again.