When Facebook users change their relationship status to indicate there’s somebody special in their lives, it is a decision never taken lightly. They’re sharing with the world a very personal aspect of their lives, and that’s a big deal. But many relationships aren’t happily ever after, and it’s equally difficult to change the status back to single. For those with amicable breakups who can stay friends, cool. But many of us might not want to be reminded of our exes when we browse the feeds, particularly if you share mutual friends. For those who aren’t willing to un-friend their past loves completely, Facebook is introducing some new features that make it easier to prevent them from popping up in your browsing and searches.
“When a relationship ends, we’ve heard from people that they sometimes have questions about the options available to them on Facebook,” Product Manager Kelly Winters writes in a blog post. Winters highlights some of new tools Facebook is testing that are designed to help those who have been dumped or scorned by their once-significant others, to aid in the recovery process. Starting today, your choices go beyond simply just un-friending.
Instead, once you change your relationship status to indicate the relationship is over, the social network will offer tools allowing you to limit what you see from the other person. You can essentially hide your ex from your Facebook feed and pretend like you both never met. Furthermore, Facebook won’t keep pestering you with their name suggestions when you write a new message or tag friends in photos.
The new tools aren’t all one-sided either. If you choose, you can help your ex get over you by limiting the photos, videos, and status updates that the other person sees, and by editing who sees their past posts. If you want to hide your ex completely, you can untag yourself and the other person from posts and photos as well. (But, to be honest, if you’ve reached this DEFCON 1 breakup level, you should really just pull the plug altogether.)
If you happen to be going through a breakup right now, you can start using the tools on Facebook’s mobile apps in the U.S. Based on feedback Facebook will determine whether or not to roll them out further.
“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” Winters says. “We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort, and sense of control.”