For the most part, none of us are really surprised anymore when it comes to large corporations lobbing reality-dodging generalities at us. Take the Super Bowl Half-Time Show–what the hell is that, am I right? Every once in a while, though, even seasoned veterans of obnoxiousness such as myself are forced to channel cosmic energies into our palms and bring them to our faces in disbelief. One such case is Facebook’s system for allowing users to request photos of themselves to be removed.
Say there’s an unflattering photo of yourself, and you’re incredibly concerned about it. A reasonable, well-adjusted individual (also known as 10% of the population) might just ask for it to be taken down. But, being the merciful overlord that Facebook is, it realizes that sometimes you just need a little ‘real world’ social help to compensate for years of liking and sharing. And after all, sometimes you despise the person hosting the photo as much as the photo itself.
So, automated glory it is:
You dance on over to it, hit “Options,” “Remove Tag,” and crash your mouse cursor sharply into “I want this photo removed from Facebook,” reveling in the options. Let’s go with the ubiquitous, “I don’t like this photo of me.” Facebook says, “No way, bro, that’s not enough. Choose from this second set of options now.” Because why not, you now choose, “It makes me sad.” And that should do it: magical code monkeys are unleashed and stuff happens and everyone goes home happy. Only, no.
After selecting that last option you’re treated to a pre-loaded message for the uploader of the image. That’s right, Facebook thinks that you’re incapable of what their service is based on: interpersonal communication. The message it spits out is as follows:
“Hey _______, seeing this photo makes me a little sad and I don’t want others to see it. Would you please take it down?”
A little sad? I’m in my underwear, passed out in an arm chair with an inflatable sheep. Okay, fine. After all, the embarrassment is almost over. When things are primed, you fire this request off and the person eventually approves of it, it automates another message for them to send back to you.
“Hi Johnny, thanks for letting me know you wanted the photo I posted removed. I took it down.”
That’s right: even the response is automated. The human factor is nearly entirely removed from the question, all just to take a photo down. There is much I could say here, but there is no appropriate way to end this piece, but in tears.
by Johnny Beaver