Feeds

Facebook enshrines dead people profiles

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

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.