Tech

What Happens To A Facebook Page When Someone Dies?

| Tue Mar. 29, 2011 6:00 AM EDT

I recently had a college friend pass away and I found out through Facebook (weird) wrote on the memorial's Facebook event page (weirder) and subsequently received more than 10 new friend requests from people we mutually knew but with whom I had no contact. To be honest, I want to delete the dead guy's profile. I don't want to be tempted to stare at my dead friend's photos every time I'm feeling like an emotional prune. Same thing happened with a MySpace friend of mine back in the day, except someone took over said dead friend's account and would occasionally post weird shit from it, so it was like having a dumb internet ghost speak to you from the beyond. Dead friend would be all, "Hey guys! Miss you!" Creep deep. What should I do with dead Facebook friends? Leave them, delete them, report them as deceased, etc. I seriously have no idea what the etiquette is.

~Friends Till The End

Super creep deep. MySpace had such a problem with deceased users that sites like MyDeathSpace.com were created to try to match obituaries with neglected user profiles. Thankfully, MySpace has mostly gone the way of the dinosaurs and Friendster. Dealing with the digital footprint of the deceased is a sensitive issue, to be sure, but there are a few routes you can take. One is to turn the deceased person's profile into a memorial page. Here's the form to do that. Facebook will memorialize the profile of a deceased user no matter who sends the request, and proof of death, while helpful, is not required.There's not an option to request that a deceased user's account remain active. However, since nobody's profile is ever removed for inactivity, if no one notifies FB, then their account will stay as it is until someone takes action.

If you turn someone's FB profile into a memorial page, it removes their wall posts, contact information, and status updates, so no one has to be reminded about how often you shared that "Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video Version" video. (Since I'm only dead inside, here it is again!)

Read the rest of my online etiquette column at SF Weekly

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