20 March 2011

Facebook Memories gets the wrong date

Facebook Photo Memories with wrong dateA couple of months ago, started testing a new feature, ‘Memories’, as reported on Inside Facebook. I recently got a glimpse of it as well in my account, as a couple of old photos from me and friends started appearing in the right sidebar under the heading “Photo Memories”. I also got some random ‘memorable status updates’, a good confirmation they are being rolled out more widely.

But coming back to the photos, I couldn’t help notice something very wrong about them: the date! A random friend looking at the first one wouldn’t know it, but that photo was actually taken in March 2006, so three years before, back when I didn’t even heard of the social network. It’s more obvious on the second one, as the title of the album clearly states the photos are from 2008, not from February 2010 as Facebook seems to think. I guess Facebook is only considering the upload date relevant and simply discards the metadata contained in the image file; most digital cameras now save the date in EXIF format. It’s hard to understand why Facebook doesn’t check this on upload; maybe it just assumes most people upload photos right after taking them, so the difference would be insignificant. But since I got two examples with wrong date in a single box, I would say the problem is pretty wide-spread.

As Louis Gray wrote recently – and most certainly other as well – the web is focused more and more on the “now”, so much that we are losing sight of older relevant information, pushed down by fresher content. Facebook Memories could be a step in the right direction; but labeling hundreds of photos with the wrong date is only creating another issue: should we prefer a flawed record to no record at all?

P.S.The first photo belongs to a larger album from a trip to Hamburg; watch it in the slideshow below if you like.

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