Facebook to preserve accounts of the dead

Friends and family encouraged to leave posts on the "memorialised" Facebook accounts of the dead

Barry Collins
27 Oct 2009

Facebook has announced plans to preserve the accounts of dead members as a "memorial" for friends and family.

The company says it will give previously confirmed friends of the deceased access to their "memorialised" Facebook page, which will continue to display photos and wall posts, but remove "sensitive information" such as status updates and contact information.

"When an account is memorialised, we set privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search," the company's Max Kelly writes on the Facebook blog. "Memorialising an account also prevents anyone from logging into it in the future, while still enabling friends and family to leave posts on the profile Wall in remembrance."

The social-networking site will take other measures to prevent the dead cropping up in insensitive places. For example, memorialised accounts won't appear in Facebook's revamped Suggestions panel, which encourages you to re-contact people you haven't heard from in a while.

Friends or family who want to report the death of a Facebook member are encouraged to fill out the site's Deceased form. The form asks for proof of death, such as an obituary or news article, although it's not clear how Facebook can validate the death of a member if neither of those pieces of information is published on the internet.

We suspect it's only a matter of hours before someone is wrongly killed off on the social-networking site.

Read more about: