Before sites like Facebook showed up and connected everyone, some people thought that divorce was not quite so hard. People would take down the wedding photos that they had around the house, and all evidence of that marriage could easily be gone. These days, things are much more complicated.
One man who got divorce recounted how hard it had been for him to decide what to do with the pictures that he had on his Facebook page with him and his wife. He thought that he needed to get rid of them so that he could forget her, heal and move on. Some friends told him just to leave it alone. He debated it for a while and ended up drinking a bottle of whiskey while trying to sort through all of his online photos and delete the ones that he could.
However, he said that he wished there was an easier way to do it than just going through all of the photos individually. One professional in Massachusetts who studied the subject said that the reason that sites such as Facebook make it hard to delete things is because their real goal is to sell ads. The more content they have, the more potential ads they can display.
Google also uses algorithms that connected significant others when people punch their names into a search for images. Often, these cannot be removed.
In the end, the man also wanted to get rid of the photos because he thought he might meet someone else, and he didn’t want her to have to go through all of these old pictures. He feared that she would not like seeing them. Once he deleted everything, he actually did use Facebook itself to meet another woman and start a new relationship.
The highly-connected world in which people now live can make divorce more public and complicated than it has ever been before. Anyone going through this in Massachusetts should make sure that they know about all of their rights, including their rights to privacy.
Source: Source: The Hamilton Spectator, “Just me, my divorce, and everyone on Facebook,” Nick Bilton, July 11, 2014