Find me online!

twittergoogle plusemail

October 29, 2009

What happens if you die and you've got a Facebook account?

That's a question that addresses in this article.

This recently became an issue due to the new Facebook "reconnect" suggestions, where you are given two suggestions:  one of them is somebody who many of your friends are friends with (suggesting that you should become friends with them too), and another is one who either hasn't been on Facebook in a while, or you haven't interacted with in a while (I'm not sure on that one).  At any rate, when that was implemented, some people complained that people who had died were showing up on the list, and they were pretty perturbed.  I have had only one of my FB friends die, and sure enough, she showed up in my "suggestions" box for somebody I should reconnect with.  Since I was already aware of all of this, it didn't piss me off or anything.

According to the policy, which evidently has been policy for a while now but they're only now publicizing it because of the backlash, family members can "memorialize" their loved ones account.

"In an Oct. 26 blog post, Max Kelly, Facebook's head of security, announced the company's policy of "memorializing" profiles of users who have died, taking them out of the public search results, sealing them from any future log-in attempts and leaving the wall open for family and friends to pay their respects. Though most media reports claimed this was a new Facebook feature, a spokeswoman for the company told TIME that it's an option the site has had since its early days."

This is a nice idea, and it would have been really nice if they had publicized it from the very beginning.  They could have avoided all of this hoopla and negative publicity.

So if you lose a family member who has a Facebook account, I would definitely look into having this memorializing done (assuming you want to leave the account up in the first place, which you might not want to do).  All you have to do is notify Facebook of what you want to do, providing some proof of death, of course (you don't want any pranksters closing down your account because they decide to tell Facebook that you died) and they'll do what you want.  Either close it down or just make it so that the account doesn't show up in any searches or in things like this suggestion feature.  It will only be viewable by friends, so nobody will ever stumble upon it.  And, best of all, once this is done you won't have to do anything else, unless you want to check the profile to see if anybody has left a message on it.

Even though it has now been published on the Facebook blog, I wonder how many people still aren't aware of this policy.  So I'm doing my part to make sure it does get around.

(h/t: Shea from Twittercism, who posted this link on his Facebook page)


  1. This is the first time I read about this, as I'm not really a fan of any fine prints... But yeah, I guess it's okay. A little uncomfortable to think about, but still okay. :)

  2. I have a dead facebook friend. I don't think his family knew that they could memorialize his account, and it's actually kind of creepy that they didn't. He died shortly after joining facebook, so when you visit his page it asks you to suggest friends for him.

  3. I know the feeling, Jenn. The person I mention in this post, I'm *still* getting "suggestions" for her. It's actually rather morbid.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.