When Josh Centers first wrote about the Memories feature of Photos in iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course, he warned that the resurfacing of old memories might be upsetting: “Memories are computer-generated and therefore can be sometimes stupid or insensitive in the photos they bring together.”
Unfortunately, the problem can be far more troubling than he had imagined. Lauren Goode, writing for Wired, is forever being reminded of the wedding she called off in 2019. Ads for wedding products still appear in her social media feeds, and both iCloud Photos and Google Photos regularly resurface pictures of her and her ex.
Pinterest’s Omar Seyal told her that the company calls this the “miscarriage problem.” Major life changes like weddings and births are incredibly valuable to advertisers, so they target them aggressively, but the ads keep coming even when those events don’t work out happily. Unfortunately, there is very little being done to address the issue.
Of course, at its heart, this isn’t a new problem. Josh’s dad died over 20 years ago, but his mom still receives mail addressed to him. His grandma’s husband passed away in the 1970s, but she received mail for him until her death at the end of 2019.