Like most people, you don’t think about death everyday. If you don’t think about death then it would be a wrong to say that you know what will happen to your social networking profile when you die. I personally don’t care about any other website besides Facebook where my deeds are depicted in most personal fashion imaginable.
The question I sometimes ask myself is what will happen to my Facebook profile when I die? I decided to search for the answer in Facebook’s Terms and Conditions but couldn’t find anything. I then searched for the term “Death” on the Facebook Help page and this is what I found:
Please report this information here so that we can memorialize this person’s account. Memorializing the account removes certain more sensitive information like status updates and restricts profile access to confirmed friends only. Please note that in order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone. We do honor requests from close family members to close the account completely.
To report a death of a family or a friend, fill out a simple form and Facebook will memorialize the account. You might want to put this in your will or something, if you have one.
In my view memorializing an account might not get the job done for the family of deceased, specially if the profile picture depicts a person with a middle finger or with a vodka bottle. A friend of mine lost his nephew, 18 years old, in a car accident couple years ago. The nephew, being a teenager, had a very indecent picture on his profile and people were leaving comments saying how bad they felt on his death. It all seemed like a joke because on one hand there was a picture of someone not in their best behavior and on the other hand people who were deeply hurt were sharing their emotions.
It is a good thing that Facebook honors requests from close family members to close the account completely, that’s the option I would personally opt for. Maybe I should just use this post to make it clear that “I would appreciate if my profile from Facebook is deleted as soon as I pass away.”
Facebook should create an application or some kind of an option that authorizes friends or family members to manage a profile after someone is deceased. I know it is not something Facebook will consider anytime soon because the majority of the people who use it are young but if you read Fastest Growing Demographic on Facebook: Women Over 55, you will find out that Facebook will not be able to avoid this question for a long time.
All this makes me wonder, what about my blog? Hmmm….