Can Facebook Memories impact separating or divorcing couples?
Social media has become such a huge part of our lives that it is easy to forget that everything recorded on social media is likely to be recorded forever.
With that in mind, tools like Facebook Memories can serve as a fun and friendly way to remember events in our lives, since it reminds each user what they were doing that day last year, the year before and so on. Rather than reminding users of the good times, on the other hand, it can do the exact opposite. Imagine, having gone through a long and (financially and emotionally) costly divorce, only to be reminded that two years ago today you were celebrating your wedding. As a Facebook user, when this was first brought to my attention, my initial reaction was to turn off this tool. I then found that this was not possible! The moments that have taken place in my life (since I've been a user) are therefore highlighted to me on a daily basis!
It is possible to limit the range of dates from which Facebook will send you updates so that certain periods are excluded, however, this does not turn it off. It appears that ex-partners may be able to find you through this tool, even if they have been blocked or removed from friend lists. Whilst this may simply be annoying for most, for some, this could present a real risk, particularly where there has been a history of domestic abuse. In this situation, we suggest it may just be best to deactivate social media accounts.
Used responsibly and sensibly, Facebook, and social media as a whole, can be valuable tools and for many, provide a way of keeping in touch with friends and relatives. It is important to be aware of the pitfalls – many of which are in my previous blog The perils of Facebook. Facebook are also trialling a new feature to deal with ex's, read more info in our blog Facebook – a painful daily reminder.
If you have any questions about the use of social media in a family law setting, please do not hesitate to contact the family team.