Facebook to Allow Profiles of Dead Users to Remain Live with Facebook “Memorializations”
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Facebook has announced a policy of allowing the profiles of deceased users to remain up, as a sort of “memorialization” or tribute to the user.

Facebook’s Max Kelly explains that “Obviously, we wanted to be able to model people’s relationships on Facebook, but how do you deal with an interaction with someone who is no longer able to log on? When someone leaves us, they don’t leave our memories or our social network. To reflect that reality, we created the idea of “memorialized” profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed.”


Equally important for Facebook, having someone’s profile changed to “memorialized” status is supposed to keep that person’s profile from being offered up to other Facebook users as a “suggested friend” because, well, dead people don’t make very good friends.

Dead people don’t make very good friends.

Explains Kelly, “We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized.”

Put in plain English, help Facebook not commit the faux pas of offering a deceased person’s profile as a suggested friend, by letting them know that the person has passed away.

This clearly is a problem – one comment to Mr. Kelly’s blog post exclaims “hey i don’t know if you read all of these, but facebook has suggested that i “reconnect” with two friends in the last two days, both of whom died over 18 months ago. please, please, please stop this as it is disturbing and creepy.”

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It’s unclear whether this commenter is saying that a memorialized friend was suggested, or whether they are a perfect example of someone who should let Facebook know that a friend has passed on, so that Facebook can remove them from circulation, as it were.

But either way, we agree that it’s kind of creepy.

In order to have a deceased Facebook friend’s page changed into a “memorialized” page, a friend or family member has to fill out a “Deceased profile” form on Facebook.

 

facebook-deceased-profile

Once the account is set to “memorialized” status, says Kelly, “we also set privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search. We try to protect the deceased’s privacy by removing sensitive information such as contact information and status updates.”

Hey, we think that if someone can post status updates from the beyond, more power to them!

You can file a deceased person’s claim with Facebook [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead]. Be prepared to demonstrate the friend’s passing with an obituary or news article that substantiates their death.

Of course, it would be..er..dead easy to spoof an obituary or news article – any bets on how long it will be before the first still-live person is memorialized as a practical joke on Facebook?

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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