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Facebook’s Clever Birthday Present for its Users

On its tenth birthday, Facebook offers users a data-driven trip down memory lane.
February 4, 2014

Today is officially Facebook’s tenth birthday, and to help users get into a celebratory and nostalgic mood, the social network released an impressive “A Look Back” video that automatically customizes to show each user highlights of their lives that they’ve shared on the service.

I have a hard time admitting anything Facebook does can elicit emotion from me, but this did. I got a little choked up watching the video it created for me, with a collage of mostly forgotten photos from my early Facebook days and music that swelled appropriately as big news I’ve shared on the site–like changing jobs and getting engaged–appeared onscreen (this was based on posts with the highest number of “likes”). It was sappy, but nice.

Besides being a smart use of all the content its users have posted over the years, “A Look Back” may also offer an interesting look at the ways in which Facebook could use the massive amounts of data we’ve given it by way of our status updates, photo uploads, comments, and “likes” in really personal, emotionally impactful marketing. That could be creepy, but it could also be compelling.

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