Old Posts On My Facebook Wall, Now I Can Delete Them All: Facebook introduces feature to “curate your past”

June 28, 2020

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2 min read

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What's going on here?

Facebook has introduced a new feature that will allow users to archive or delete posts in bulk, allowing you to “curate your presence on Facebook to more accurately reflect who you are today”.

What does this mean?

The first generation of Facebook users, tech-savvy teens in the mid-2000s, are now young adults with their teenage years documented online. Whether embarrassing, inappropriate or otherwise, your old Facebook posts may no longer represent who you are (or who you want others to think you are) today. Rather than having to trawl through years of posts to manually delete them one by one, you can now archive or delete them in bulk, thanks to Facebook’s new “manage activity” feature. Filters will allow users to find posts from within certain date ranges or that mention certain people, allowing them to erase school years or past relationships from their digital footprints.

What's the big picture effect?

This story highlights the need for social media users to have control over how they are represented online, and how this new feature will support this need.

First and foremost, it will allow individuals to remove content that may be problematic in the eyes of potential or current employers. Studies show that over 80% of recruiters review candidates’ online profiles. Equally, you can lose your job if a social media post resurfaces that your employer finds unacceptable. On a personal level, an individual may wish to remove content from a particular time in their life, move on from a past relationship or regain some privacy. Furthermore, with more control over the information about them that is publicly available, users will be able to reduce the risk of misuse of this information, such as harassment and identity theft.

The right to be forgotten, enshrined by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), allows EU citizens to ask anyone in possession of their data to delete it. The tool reflects that by allowing users to more readily remove content from their online profiles. However, the data remains on Facebook’s servers for use by the firm. Check out our report on that here.

This new feature reflects the ever-evolving nature of human beings. The emotions, opinions and stages of life that we experience are not permanent. In the real world, we are the masters of our own identities, and nowadays, we are as strongly represented by our online personas as our offline ones. The information that is available about us online can significantly impact our job prospects, personal lives and privacy, and therefore we should have the right to curate it with freedom and ease to reflect who we are today.

Report written by Isobel Deane

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