• 11/13/2012
    4:34 PM
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Facebook Couples Profiles: Breaking Up Hard To Do

Facebook's new Couples profile puts the story of your relationship out there. You can curate it -- but users are already groaning at this un-requested "feature."
5 Facebook Rivals Hot On Its Heels
5 Facebook Rivals Hot On Its Heels
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I was reminded of the Taylor Swift song "The Story of Us" when I heard about Facebook's new Couples feature. The new profiles put the story of "us" out there -- whether you want it there or not.

If you are listed as "in a relationship" on Facebook, surf on over to There, you will see a timeline of the updates, photos, events and so on that you and your significant other have both been tagged in.

There may be people who love the new feature, but their voices are not being heard today. Rather, there is some pretty loud outcry over Facebook's many surprise changes -- outcry fueled by the fact that the changes are often puzzling and the new features are seldom anything anyone wanted in the first place.

Facebook's Couples Profiles

Couples Profiles are new, but Facebook has had a similar feature for a couple of years in its Friendship Pages. On these pages, you could see the posts that you and friends have in common.

Friendship pages are now being updated with the Timeline look and feel. (You can check out Friendship Pages by clicking on the gear icon at the top of Facebook contacts' timelines.)

Facebook told CNN that users cannot deactivate the pages, but that they can control what is shared on Facebook by using the privacy settings for each post. Facebook added that users can "curate" Friendship pages by hiding stories they do not want to appear.

Seems like an awful lot of work for something that many people don't want and didn't ask for in the first place.

A truly unscientific survey among my own Facebook friends -- many of whom are among the business and tech folds -- yielded the following: "Eww" (that was actually my first thought, exactly), "Get a room," "Yikes," "OMG LOL," and "Who gets custody if the relationship ends?"

That last point is an interesting one. Being the parent of two teenage girls, I have seen how relationships on Facebook (and elsewhere) come and go. I have also seen how some people fool with that status to make a point, make a joke, whatever. Facebook has said there has to be some kind of reciprocity to the relationship for all of this to work, but it still feels like hurt feelings, misunderstandings and general shenanigans are sure to abound. Indeed, I wonder how many statuses we'll see turn to "single" to avoid Facebook couple-dom altogether.

As Taylor Swift sang in the aforementioned song: "I don't know what to say since the twist of fate/When it all broke down and the story of us/Looks a lot like a tragedy now, the end."

What do you think of Facebook's new Couples profiles? Am I just being a cynic? Is there something I am missing? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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re: Facebook Couples Profiles: Breaking Up Hard To Do

I am in the camp of people who don't love this new "feature." The need to curate such a page is a chore -- and I don't see the value for users. Of course, FB also creates similar pages for your friends. On your page, click on the friend's name and "see friendship" and you will see photos, comments, etc. I am betting many people never click on that option.
Laurianne McLaughlin

re: Facebook Couples Profiles: Breaking Up Hard To Do

I agree with Laurianne. The more features Facebook adds, the longer the list grows of tasks you must complete to make sure your privacy remains at a level that is comfortable for you. Though, like every new feature Facebook throws at us, I think the outrage eventually settles down, and we eventually get used to it.

re: Facebook Couples Profiles: Breaking Up Hard To Do

You are not missing a thing Debra! But honestly I believe Facebook probably came up with these features as positive when the idea was on the table. They do however continue to add features that make setting and adjusting the privacy settings a pain. Couples profiles? Makes me chuckle when I think type it. I understand if you are proud of your relationship and even declaring it on Facebook, but the need to share a combined page? Should have left this one on the table, or the on the floor, whichever.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor