These days, the digital trail of a relationship is a long one. There are emails, Gchats, text messages and, of course, the rampant evidence on Facebook. But what happens when that sweet romance turns sour?
KillSwitch, a new app launched on Valentine's Day, is looking to make breakups "suck less" by surreptitiously deleting any Facebook history of your ex from your timeline.
"We have one friend, love her to death, she's been very unlucky in love," Clara de Soto, a co-creator of the app who works for Clearhart Digital, told The Huffington Post on Thursday. "Every time that she would break up with a boyfriend, she would deactivate her Facebook account. And when she'd finally muster up the courage to reactivate it, it was like navigating this minefield of these shards of her last relationship, pictures of when she was happy and in love."
The wish for some mechanism to prevent that heartache resulted in KillSwitch.
For $0.99, the app will select a "target" from your friend list and remove pictures of you together -- the ones you've posted, as well as those you're tagged in. It will also rid your timeline of references to your ex in wall posts and status updates.
Bonus: Your ex will not be notified they've been digitally deleted from your timeline. The goal, de Soto explained, isn't to be vindictive; it's to help people heal and move on from their past relationships.
If you're not ready to have all signs of your ex gone for good -- or if you want to laugh about that person down the road -- de Soto explained that you can have the app make a private Facebook folder of the materials. You can then reinstate the tags if you happen to rekindle the relationship with the person you've digitally deleted.
There is one caveat, however: You have to be Facebook friends with your ex for the app to work its magic.
Plenty of other apps and websites already exist to help people with the various aspects of breakups, both digital and otherwise. For example, the online market place, Never Liked It Anyway, helps people sell items their exes gave them, and the Ex-App can block users from calling, emailing or texting exes from their phones.
As Slate points out, if there are going to be apps that encourage couples to have digital scrapbooks of their relationships, then why not have apps specifically to deal with the digital remains when those relationships flop?
"Whether we like it or not, our digital lives have evolved and extended. But getting online and being bombarded by photos, posts, and all the myriad things that comprise the online history of a relationship is needlessly painful," Slate's Erin Coulehan writes. "It’s called a breakup because something is broken, and there’s no need to stir up memories with all the jagged little pieces online."