I recently noticed that a few of my friends deactivated their relationships on Facebook. They hadn’t gone from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” – they’d simply eliminated their status altogether. It seems the culprit is Facebook’s new “Couples Pages,” which collect all your Facebook interactions with your significant other and put them on one page, making it easier for you to daydream about your significant other during stolen moments at work – and for Facebook stalkers to gain insight into your relationship.
Naturally, there has been some backlash. The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett writes that giving people useful social tools is one thing, but when social becomes compulsory, “the experience is anything but social or remotely positive,” she says. “You have infantilized my relationship for me with the creation of www.facebook.com/us. Only I should get to do that. And you may have just forced me, a newlywed, to finally take the plunge and break up with my husband on Facebook.”
However, as Slate’s Aisha Harris points out, “You have already publicly posted your relationship status online—your union became social media fodder as soon as you did so.” All the complaints are just evidence, Harris writes, of how many people use Facebook without really understanding the terms and conditions. Couples pages are essentially just friendship pages redesigned – and since 2010, those pages have been actively aggregating your interactions with all your friends. But some couples are upset that there’s no way to deactivate the couple page without disintegrating the relationship – at least on Facebook.
There are workarounds, such as hiding stories from your friendship page, adjusting your privacy settings or untagging yourself from photos. The Slate article also references Mashable’s guide to adjusting 10 of the most important privacy settings.
Was it irresponsible for Facebook to introduce the adorable-to-some, irritating-to-others upgrade? Weigh in.