Facebook is a great platform on which to share good times, but when those good times sour it can be a constant reminder of your heartache. Perhaps you’ve split up with your partner, lost a loved one, or just had a particularly hellish day that you never want to re-live. Here we show you how to stop Facebook bringing up painful memories of the past – plus: how to hide photos of your ex. Also see: Best Facebook tips & tricks.
Update 20 November 2015: Facebook has developed and is from today testing (for now in the US only) new ‘break-up tools’ that appear when you go to change your relationship status. The tools can restrict how much you see of your ex on the social network, how much they see of you, and how much other people see of the pair of you.
Facebook’s relatively new ‘On This Day’ feature works much like Timehop, showing you the things you cared about enough to post, share or like, the friends you made and conversations you had on this day a year (or two- or three- or four years ago, or for however long you’ve been on Facebook).
That’s fine most of the time, but if you’re currently nursing a broken heart you probably don’t need reminding that a year ago you were blissfully happy.
You can stop Facebook reporting memories concerning certain friends – just head to facebook.com/onthis day and click the Preferences button at the top right. In the box that pops up you can tell Facebook if there are certain people for whom you don’t wish to see memories.
Also useful is the ability to set preferences for any days on which you don’t want to receive reminders from Facebook, such as the day a loved one passed, the day you lost your job, the day you and your partner split or anything else you find particularly painful and when you would rather be left alone.
Supposing your reason for wanting to block certain memories of a person is that you’ve split up or you’re no longer friends. Preventing On This Day reminding you of them is one thing, but what about all the other things you’ve shared on Facebook – photos, conversations and more.
You could unfriend them, but if you have mutual friends their activity will still pop up on your page from time to time. The easiest way to get someone well and truly out of your life is to block them on Facebook. This will prevent them seeing anything you do or you seeing anything they do, their name will no longer even appear in search results.
Facebook says: “Once you block someone, that person can no longer see things you post on your timeline, tag you, invite you to events or groups, start a conversation with you, or add you as a friend. Note: Does not include apps, games or groups you both participate in.”
You’ll still be able to see existing photos of the pair of you, though. If you’ve uploaded them then it’s up to you whether you wish to delete them, and if they have been uploaded by a friend you can simply untag yourself so the offending photo no longer appears in photos of you.