Facebook Reminds Users How to Handle Death

Will Memorialize Profiles of the Deceased

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[ Social Media]

If you’ve had a friend or loved-one die during the Facebook age, you may or may not have known that Facebook will memorialize their profile if you let them know about it. Facebook’s Max Kelly reminded us of the fact in a post on the company’s blog today.

While the process has been around for a while, the company evidently thought it best to bring up because as Facebook recently redesigned its home page, a new feature was added that gives suggestions for "reconnecting" with old contacts. As Pete Cashmore pointed out over the weekend, a lot of people are getting suggestions for people they really don’t want to reconnect with, and in some cases people who have died.

Max Kelly of FacebookKelly talks about how the company was once faced with deciding what to do with the profile of a dead friend and co-worker. "The question soon came up: What do we do about his Facebook profile? We had never really thought about this before in such a personal way," he recalls. "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."

"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," continues Kelly. "For instance, just last week, we introduced new types of Suggestions that appear on the right-hand side of the home page and remind people to take actions with friends who need help on Facebook. By memorializing the account of someone who has passed away, people will no longer see that person appear in their Suggestions."

When a Facebook account has been "memorialized," Facebook sets the privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in a search. People are also prevented from logging into it, but it lets friends and family leave posts on the profile’s wall as a memorial.

This is something to consider if you ever lose someone who is a Facebook user. It also brings up a broader discussion about what to do with any social media profile, blog, or site when someone passes away.

Do you think Facebook’s profile memorialization is the appropriate way to handle the situation? Discuss here.

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  • Nilbom

    The real question is this: who will delete all my porn when I die?

  • Rhonda

    In the last 6 months, since I have joined facebook, I had two old friends pass away. One of them had a friend request pending from me, but I did not know yet what had happened. I think memorilizing is a good idea– however, I would really, really like any information as to how I can add these friends, who passed before I was sbscribed to their pages. It would help me a great deal to be able to read some about their most recvent lives, before their unfortunate and untimely demises. And yes, btw, I DO get those suggestions, for 1 of them, and it’s a bit creepy. Is there anything I can do??? I wrote FB originally son after the 1st death occured in May, buut never heard any response. Thanks very much.

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