Feeds

Facebook enshrines dead people profiles

'When someone leaves us, they don't leave...our social network'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Facebook has announced a new service for the friends and family of dead people.

Monday morning, after some public pressure from Canada's privacy czar, Mark Zuckerberg and company told the world they're now "memorializing" the Facebook profiles of those who graduate to that big social network in the sky.

"When someone leaves us, they don't leave our memories or our social network," Facebook man Max Kelly wrote on the official Facebook blog. "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."

When an account is memorialized, only friends confirmed by the dead person prior to death can see the account or even locate it via search. And though friends can post stuff to the dead person's virtual "Wall," no one can actually log in to the account. Facebook also says it will "try to protect the deceased's privacy by removing sensitive information such as contact information and status updates" - and work to remove the profile from certain on-site feeds.

"We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them," the post continues. "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."

To memorialize the profile of a dead person you know, you can contact Facebook via this form, entitled "Deceased." You must provide the deceased's date-of-birth, email addresses they may have used to create their Facebook account, your relationship to the deceased, and proof of death, including a news article or obituary.

The Canadian privacy czar must be very pleased indeed. But here at The Reg, we're patiently waiting for Mark Zuckerberg and company to memorialize the Facebook profile of someone who's very much among the living. If web pranksters can fool a Reuters reporter into thinking the Chamber supports greenhouse gas legislation, someone can surely fool Facebook into thinking some unsuspecting social networker has passed into the hereafter.

We also know that Facebook friends aren't always friends. Protecting a dead person's privacy is all well and good, but what happens when someone takes a piss on that Wall? What happens if there's a dispute over what is and what isn't sensitive profile material?

Death was so much easier on GeoCities. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.