On February 6 2020, Facebook user Tomayia Colvin posted about Facebook’s On This Day/Memories feature, and what is perhaps a little-known setting enabling users to filter out specific names and dates for entries they might wish not to see:
You can tell Facebook not to show you memories that trigger you. Protect your peace, friends.
In a screenshot, a pop-up window of text read:
Let us know if there are dates you don’t want to see memories from.
Above “Select Dates” was “February 4, 2016 – February 9, 2016,” and above “Cancel” and “Save” buttons, text read:
We’ll filter posts from those times in your life so they won’t show in On This Day.
In an undated post shared to Facebook’s Help Community in approximately 2016 titled “‘Memories’ are popping up sad triggers from death/divorce. How do I turn off?”, a distressed user asked why there was no visible way to turn off Facebook’s On This Day feature:
I want through two of the hardest things in my life over the past 4 years – my father was sick for three years and then died, and my husband left me. I get a lot of “memories” popping us that have to do with both and would really like to turn them off. They make me really sad. for example – I had a memory pop up yesterday from 5 Years ago – that said “before I die I would like to travel the world with [ex-husband]” who is my former husband who left me. I can’t even tell you how this caught me off guard and started a flood of emotion. It is really cruel to not be able to turn these off.
Anyone with a Facebook account can access the On This Day/Memories feature by visiting https://www.facebook.com/memories. A the top of the page is a graphic which looks like this:
Selecting the gray box to the right, “Preferences,” brought up a dialogue box, and its text read:
On This Day Preferences
Your memories are yours, so you should control which ones you see in On This Day. Memories include things like your posts and others’ posts you’re tagged in, major life events and when you became friends with someone on Facebook. Use these filters to help make sure we show you memories from On This Day in a way that’s meaningful for you.
“Preferences” featured a sole function: “Filters.” As Colvin described, it was possible to filter any range of dates from Memories, in the event that specific date ranges involved possibly upsetting or unwanted flashbacks.
In addition to “Dates,” a second filter existed for “People,” in the event that specific Facebook users were also associated with distressing or unwanted memories:
Facebook’s Memories or On This Day has been known to be a source of complex emotions for many users — the memories it can uncover can be equally upsetting and treasured, such as in the case of the death of a friend or the loss of a loved one. The decision to “filter” some dates or people from Facebook Memories/Facebook On This Day is highly personal, but the option for both is available under “Preferences” when visiting the Memories page.