Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

Summary: Facebook will now freeze profile pages of those who have died to ensure privacy and security to family and friends who grieve. Is Facebook the next generation memorial chapel?


Facebook for some time adopted a policy which allows profiles of the deceased to stay as they are. With the importance of online identities and many more people than before using the online space as a communications tool, when people pass away, the impact can be more obvious than a few years ago.

But now as the world's largest community and social network, the company recognises that a number of users will die each and every day and that their online identities and pages should be memorialised - primarily for others to preserve their memory.

This is a personal one for me as a year and a half ago, a close friend of ours was killed. Through knowing a friend who worked at Facebook, she was able to lock down the profile page to ensure that over time it would become "read only". Looking back at the profile now, seen below and obviously blanked out to remove identifiable information, there are a number of obvious changes:

A deceased person's profile page will look and act quite differently. Once the form is completed to notify Facebook of a deceased person, which acts as a barrier to ensure that not only they know but also that the report is not abused, the profile page in question will be flagged and changed so:

  • Sensitive information such as phone numbers, email addresses and anything on the "Info" tab will be removed;
  • The profile page will be unavailable to those who are not confirmed friends and the profile page will be removed from all search results (in case this opens up for nutters trying to "get in touch" after a high profile death);
  • Once the profile has been frozen, nobody else can log in to the deceased person's account to prevent hacking;
  • The ability to send a personal message will be removed;
  • Any information still standing such as networks they are part of and relationship status on the main profile page will stay - regardless of whether the other person in the relationship changes theirs;
  • Status updates from that person will be disabled;
  • Advertisements will be removed from their profile pages;
  • And any "Suggestions" used on other profile pages will not contain any information or pictures from the person who has deceased.

Any photos or videos uploaded will still be available and the wall will remain open for purposes of remembrance.

Personally I applaud this new policy of Facebook's. Given how we interact with each other in this very technological age, this will ensure we can continue to remember those we have lost as and when we need to.


Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Depends on cost to Facebook

    There is some labor involved in converting the pages.
    There is, of course, the storage cost.
    And by removal of advertising links on those pages, a loss of revenue.

    On the other hand, if Facebook were to offer the families a "perpetual memorial page" similar to a grave and headstone in real life for a nominal fee; then the service would pay for itself.
    • This would seem necrophilac of Facebook

      Except for the storage costs, all the costs to Facebook, such as profit from advertizing and clickthroughs, are small lost [u]opportunity[/u] costs, not costs. As to the storage costs, surely more people join each day than die each day, and the frozen account would not continue to grow anyway.
  • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

    I agree with some of that Policy, but if a family member wants to post updates, then they should be able to. Facebook might be the only way for the surviving family members to contact that person's friends.

    Seriously Facebook - grow up !
  • costs? try gains, too...

    The only people who look only at costs are fools. Yes, there's a cost to facebook for doing this, for the admin, for the storage, for the running it... but what do they gain? They gain public goodwill, they gain more trust, they're basically putting money towards customer satisfaction... and that can turn into a draw for more people who're on the fence. It means better customer retention, because they're happier staying than they were before...

    And I doubt the idea of the "perpetual memorial page" will happen... while it's simpler to administer, there's more money to be made in doing something where it's more of a "rented plot"... sort of like a web domain. Pay for a period of time, and then keep paying regularly. After all, the "administration" of these 2 options is able to be almost entirely automated.
    • What shryko says.

      Big ditto.
  • Facebook freezes deceased persons

    and here I thought they were going to use liquid nitrogen....
  • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

    It occurs to me that this is an item that a person should now address in their active will. If it is willed to be shut down, or deleted, or left up this should be binding by law that facebook or any other online presence must abide. Obviously, this assumes that said online entity follows the law of the lands refereed to. I don't know if there are already laws dealing with this or not, we seem to have plenty of them. None the less, at least placing a statement in your will would be an attempt to legally express your desires.
  • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

    Excellent prank material. Imagine receiving the following email from facebook: You have been reported as dead. To confirm your new status, click here.
    • Holy Crap!

      That is such a GOOD social engineering scam to get someone to click on a link!

      Facebook users are going to get deluged with that soon.
  • RE: Facebook freezes living person's profiles

    Facebook's after death policies, like their before death policies, are of no practical use or meaning to you or me. That is because facebook.com is Facebook's website, NOT yours or your friends'. You have no real control. http://www.harmsen.net/shut_your_facebook.html
  • RE: Facebook freezes living person's profiles

    Facebook's after death policies, like their before death policies, are of no practical use or meaning to you. That is because facebook.com is Facebook's website, NOT yours. It is not 'your' Facebook profile, it is Facebook's profile about you. Nobody can own your domain name for you. http://www.harmsen.net/shut_your_facebook.html
  • Facebook's Web Stunts

    Facebook now can be said to be full time calculative analysis and many changes in the way social networking works.

    It has been a graveyard of the dead profiles and at the same time it has been the part of every youth and other web 2.0 profiles.
    Hardik Upadhyay
  • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

    Well, having two good friends die in the pre-facebook era, I applaud this move. One of them was on PMC-MOO with me and one of the wizards there marked the account with a do not remove or whatever it is they do to make it permanent. I think that was nice. I think this is good.
  • I Can See Abuse Problems Coming

    I hope FaceBook has ways to let people prove, without any doubt, they are the holder of their account.

    Let see ...
    I have an issue with some one who has a FaceBook Account.

    Well, then ...
    I rumor - heck with that - I flat out say a certain person has died, and passes it on. Their account is frozen. (Cryogenics?) How will that person show they are not in the after life ... and it's not some one who knows this person very well?

    MY LITTLE SISTER WAS MURDERED LAST OCTOBER BY THE HANDS OF A SO-CALLED FRIEND. THAT PERSON, AFTER NOT EVEN A MONTH OPENED UP A FACE BOOK ACCOUNT ALL ABOUT HER TO GAIN PROFIT(SHE WAS A SINGER-GUITARIST). IT IS STILL OUT THERE..AND ALL HE DOES IS ASK FOR MONEY. OUR FAMILY HAS A GREAT SUSPISCION THAT HE HAS SOME THING TO DO WITH HER DEATH. WE "WANT" THAT ACCOUNT DELETED FOR GOOD. PLEASE JUST LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS TASK AND I WILL DO MY BEST TO PROVIDE ALL. MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS: ncrnokrak@yahoo.com THANK YOU SIR, FOR YOUR TIME IN ADVANCE.<br><br>THE SECOND ACCOUNT WAS DONE ON MY SAME LITTLE SISER WHO IS NOW DEAD. A WOMAN SHE BABYSAT FOR OPENED A FACE BOOK MEMORALIZED FOR MY SISTER. NO ONE IN MY FAMILY WANTED A STRANGER TO DO THAT. I WAS GOING TO BE THE ONE TO MAKE SURE THAT TOOK PLACE. MOTHER EVEN SENT ME MY SISTER'S DEATH CERTIFICATE TO MAKE SURE THIS HAPPENS. I ALSO WANT THAT ACCOUNT DELETED, SO I CAN START A NEW ONE THE WAY MY FAMILY WANTED ME TO. PLEASE ASSIST IN YET ANOTHER TASK. THANK YOU AGAIN. <br><br>THIS IS ONE OF THE ACCOUNTS:<br><a href="http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fprofile.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fhprofile-ak-snc4%2F41569_101188099949141_5293_n.jpg&h=f55abwC6qKNhCeIguT6PAzEJYLA" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fprofile.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fhprofile-ak-snc4%2F41569_101188099949141_5293_n.jpg&h=f55abwC6qKNhCeIguT6PAzEJYLA</a><br><br>THIS IS TE OTHER ACCOUNT:<br><a href="http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fprofile.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fhprofile-ak-snc4%2F41476_100000478999372_6774_n.jpg&h=f55ab6G-k596Ge3cqqdgdVHMnKg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fprofile.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fhprofile-ak-snc4%2F41476_100000478999372_6774_n.jpg&h=f55ab6G-k596Ge3cqqdgdVHMnKg</a>


    • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

  • RE: Facebook freezes deceased person's profiles

    I find it sad that in your grief you post to things like this slandering someone else who is mourning. I don't expect you to understand that these people have grief too, or relate to it on their level enough to feel sympathy, since in fact you are mourning too. I knew your sister, and this person you are accusing of trying to make money off of her. Perhaps no one told you that ALL of her peers in the music and poetry community were organizing a BENEFIT show to raise and donate the money to charity on her behalf. Something that was very near and dear to her heart. Let's just set that slander straight. I'd like to see her privacy respected, and I know she was very careful about her privacy when she was alive. Both you and the other people involved, should consider what she would have wanted a lot more in how you portray that situation. She would be horrified by all three of you.

    Facebook should close these pages to comment, if for no other reason than to protect the voice of those who are no longer here to speak for themselves. Facebook Corporate saddens me in this regard. People should be able to have their privacy respected, alive or deceased.
    Respectfully disagreeing
  • good idea about facebook

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