Facebook’s new “feature” creates relationship pages for coupled-up Facebook users. This relationship page features common interests, tagged updates and photos, and shared events, and reminds anyone who’s forgotten about it of Facebook’s origins as a college hookup site. While it doesn’t seem like much of an improvement for Facebook users, it might be a benefit for advertisers.
If you’re publicly in a relationship, you can check out your adorable — or awkward — couple’s page, by signing into Facebook and visiting facebook.com/us, for Facebook’s archive of your relationship. If you’re single (or perhaps involved with a social-media hater), the default page here just reminds you that you’re doomed to die alone by redirecting you back to your own information. Thanks for that, Zuckerburg.You can also view the relationship page for your paired-up friends, if for any reason, you don’t get enough of your friends tagging each other in cute photos or linking each other’s names in updates. Facebook users can already pretty much do this, by visiting a friend’s page, and clicking See Friendship, just in case you wanted to see how you and a crush stack up, or view drunk photos of you and your bad-influence friend.
I wrote recently about Weesh, a relationship app that creates an adorable couple’s album, among other things, and I praised this feature of the relationship app. It’s sweet, it’s private to the couple, and users can curate their own Weesh album, creating a relationship photo album to browse quietly on one’s phone during transit delays and boring meetings.
The Facebook relationship page falls short of this for two reasons. First, the Facebook relationship page is public, although why anyone wants to view it is still beyond me, and second, users can’t curate the content in any way, whether by highlighting wedding photos or hiding that wall post about losing one’s cellphone. This creates a generic, automatic page, listing the movies both parties mutually enjoy, and all the links they’ve tagged each other in. Oh, and you can’t turn off your relationship page.
Who’s going to be even a little bit interested in looking at a relationship page? The couple probably knows more shared favorite movies than happen to be mutually listed on Facebook, and probably has better photos, too. I can’t imagine that anyone outside the relationship would care.
Perhaps the point is to encourage users to add more likes, adding their shared movies, books, and interests, to fill out a bare relationship page. Facebook adverts are big business, and the more information a user shares, the better advertisers can target their ads. With one’s age, gender, location, relationship status, employer, and all of one’s hobbies listed, Facebook is a data mine for behavior patterns, shopping trends, and targeted ads. Could the purpose behind Facebook’s relationship pages be not a benefit for users in relationships, but a benefit for advertisers interested in better targeted ads?
Changes to Facebook are almost always met with a backlash of privacy concerns. This doesn’t really concern me, by now we all know that the best way to keep something private is not to post it on the internet. (We all know that, right?) Facebook’s Relationship pages don’t seem invasive, just pointless. Well, pointless to Facebook users like you and me, that is.