A Facebook Memorial
When I opened my Facebook account in 2007, it never occurred to me that one day one of my Facebook friends would die. But, of course, it’s happened.
It seriously stunned me the first time I saw that a family member (who had password access to the account) was posting status updates and responding to condolences on the profile page of a friend who had recently passed away.
It was confusing, and a bit upsetting, even though the family member was identifying herself and meant well.
I have since received unusual reminders from Facebook, equally unsettling, reminding me of a dear friend’s birthday, even though my friend is deceased.
Memorial Day is right around the corner. It’s usually not just a bookend that marks the start of summer for me. I will spend some time recalling, remembering and talking about family members and others who have passed. I’m a poor rememberer; but I want to remember!
I acknowledge that people grieve and remember in different ways. I don’t expect everyone to think or act like me. But sometimes it’s disquieting (to me) to see that someone has posted a message on a memorial page in which they speak directly to the deceased as if he or she is still alive. (Maybe it’s true!)
One person’s tender recollection is another person’s jolting reminder of aching loss.
So I’ll just say that even though FB has really been in for a rash of bashing in the last few weeks, I appreciate their policies related to the status pages (timelines) of deceased users. I think they work to let friends continue to remember their loved ones, while preserving privacy for the deceased.
Take a look at Facebook’s Help Center information about Memorializing Accounts.
In a nutshell:
- Facebook Memorializes all accounts of deceased users.
- You can report a deceased person’s profile that needs to be memorialized here.
- Facebook wants some proof, such as an obituary.
- Once memorialized, the profile can only be viewed or searched by friends of the deceased.
- Friends of the deceased can continue to post remembrances on the deceased user’s wall.
- Facebook makes it clear that there’s nothing they can do when someone tags a recently posted pic of a deceased user.
- Unfortunately, some status pages are inappropriately classified as memorialized. If this happens to you, you can undo it by reporting it here.
Facebook has helped me remember some of my friends who have passed. That’s good for me, especially at this time of the year.
What do you think? Has FB helped or hurt as you deal with the loss of those you love?