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Making Sense of Facebook Movies

Feb 7, 2014

Credit facebook.com

Even though it is a huge part of a lot of people's lives these days, Facebook turned just 10 years old this week.

In honor of its 10th birthday, Facebook came up with a program that generates a video from the things you've written and the photos you've posted since you joined the social networking site.

To Facebook users, this is either the greatest thing since sliced bread or evidence that Facebook has jumped the shark and is on its way out.

No matter how you feel about the results, the program that generates this video -- in just a couple of seconds -- is pretty impressive.

"Facebook did what Facebook does best, which is they wrote an algorithm and this algorithm goes through your posts and it picks out what it thinks are the most significant moments," explained Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project."

McBride said she has looked at hundreds of these Facebook videos and has concluded that for some people it works very well, and for some people it doesn't work at all.

"Once you see them all together you realize that it's not unique to you, that Facebook really doesn't know what your most significant moments are," McBride said. "It's guessing and it's essentially turning your life into cliche so that it looks like everybody else's life."

McBride also pointed out that the Facebook movies made some people really annoyed.

"Sometimes, significant others were not included. There were glaring errors like your spouse or one of your three children didn't make the movie at all. That creates some hurt feelings. And then in other cases you saw these hilarious inclusions. One guy in Orlando had a decapitated squirrel as his final scene-setter. It's funny no matter what but it doesn't necessarily capture the uniqueness of your life."