Facebook announce memorial profiles for deceased members

Friends and families of deceased users on Facebook will soon be given the option to turn their profiles into memorials. The new feature will be introduced as a result of several complaints regarding status updates and suggestions about deceased users, according to The Guardian.

Information that may be sensitive to relatives or friends of the deceased user, as well as status updates and contacts will be removed by Facebook after the person is confirmed to be dead (either through news articles, obituaries or other proof of death). The newly introduced "Suggestions" feature will no longer remind people to help their dead friend or relative either.

"We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it's important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized," said Max Kelly, the head of security at Facebook.

In addition, the privacy settings of the user's profile are changed so that only confirmed Facebook friends can view the "memorialised" profile, or find it in search results. They can also post remembrance comments on the deceased person's wall.

"When someone leaves us, they don't leave our memories or our social network. 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," Max said.

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Facebook have more than 300 million active users. With average life span of 75 years it would be 10 959 new dead users per day (300M/75/365) .

EJocys said,
Facebook have more than 300 million active users. With average life span of 75 years it would be 10 959 new dead users per day (300M/75/365) .

Hahah nice. But how many of them will actually be reported?

Your maths is wrong, lifespan has nothing to do with it. You would have to get average death rates over the world, then get a percentage of that equal to the percentage of the world population that uses facebook.

Even then it would be inaccurate because just as the average death rate is different country to country, so is the percentage of users to population.

The death rate for mid year 2009 was 8.2 in every 1000 people per year. Meaning that around 570 million people die each year (based on this years data).

About 4.3% of the world population uses facebook, so that makes 2.45 Million facebook users die each year. (As a percentage of all world deaths)

Divide this by 365 and you get 67,150 facebook deaths per day.

As I said, that figure is still inaccurate due to differences in death rates between countries and differences in user demographics. A good number of facebook users come from countries that you have lower average death rates.

you know that these social networks have taken the next step.... when they encompass enough of your life to make a memorial matter...
imho facebook to me is nothing more than a communication tool... something like having a copy of my friends phone number on my phone... if i know that the number is no longer going to be useful, i wont hesitate to delete it

but for stuff like pictures and stuff, i think its quite ironic to have something hosted online be a permenant memorial to someone, they should put it in some physical form, like burning it onto a disc, or printing out the pictures

Imagine the fun, as a prank I could ask FB to memorialise one of my sisters or something, even though they are still perfectly alive.

This is a great idea. What an awful feeling it must be to constantly be reminded to reconnect with a deceased friend or family member.

On the other hand... deleting the profile is probably a whole lot better.

Thank god I don't and won't ever use Facebook or any other social networking for that matter, this is just to weird.
"Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life, alive or otherwise."

which is why it's important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized

Or, more appropriately, they could request the profile be deleted. We don't need Facebook to become a giant archive of everyone, living or dead. When I die I really don't need a Facebook profile anymore. Facebook needs to stop acting like we all depend on it.

A friend of mine passed away a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday i saw their profile on Suggested People. It was a very weird feeling seeing him like that. I think this is a great idea and should be done ASAP.

I think this is a lovely idea and solves a practical issue.

People die and something sensitive needs to be done about their online life, something which will become more and more apparent as time goes by.

In terms of Facebook, someone I went to school with died recently. It's very strange and quite painful to see his profile as if nothing had happened. And yet, deleting him from my friends list because he died seems highly inappropriate.

It's not weird, I know many people who lost a brother or sister or a close relative and desperately wanted to change the profile picture or the status to something that really reflects who they were and not a status making funny of something and a photo of the concert he was going to the next week.

Yet, how to make it easy to use when some one really passed away and making it hard for jokers to make use of it as a practical joke, and how can some one living in a non English speaking country get them a newspaper, will they even understand what it says??

I have many friends on Facebook who have passed away and i think this is an excellent way to publicly remember and memorialise them.
This will keep posts from friends and other photos intact without the pain of Facebook constantly reminding you to 'reconnect' with them.
I have always wondered when these social networking sites would sort out something for their deceased users. well done Facebook.

That's a really good idea I think. It would be nice to be able to post comments on a friend's page, see pictures, etc. It's a good idea to take them out of search results too. I think that's a very good idea.

Isn't there a mydeathspace.com already? seems redundant and slightly offensive to advertise such a feature as a way of getting and keeping members to the site. Good thing I'm one of those who is not interested in any of those sites. The Novelty wears off far to fast and no one really wants to be your friend on their, just an attention getter. That's my personal opinion of coarse.

You know, I think you might be right. Hundreds of websites posted that yesterday as if it was new:


Although, it is slightly different, as the Suggestions feature wasn't around then, but even Facebook's blog came across in a "new feature" way.

I think I/We are missing something.

EDIT: Ah, it would seem that with the rollout of Facebook's new features, the dead members were included in certain results (such as suggestions), which some users complained about. So all is well it seems :P

Shadrack said,
Sounds like a good idea.... until your friends kill you on Facebook.

Yeah... I already get "facebook raped' Enough as it is, dont need them pronouncing me dead as well every 2 days or so :P

Its a good idea, better than all the myspace pages for dead people. I would think it'd be bad if they created a NEW account for them. But if they already had one, it'd be nice to reflect they'd passed.

I think it's a good idea - if done properly. Lock the profile from appearing in quizzes/games (how am I supposed to feel when I get asked if a deceased classmate lets the yellow mellow?), make the profile a sort of memorial wall, let groups dedicated to the person post pics and memories, etc.

Well I think it's a needed feature. I had a friend who passed away and after they changed the design very recently, I keep being reminded to write something on his wall... I guess you could delete or lock those profiles, but I can see that some of his closest friends and his family take comfort in putting up a message there on special occasions.

Honestly, as weird as this may seem its not too bad of an idea. I know of plenty of people who have passed away and had active facebook profiles and it is definitely an odd feeling seeing their page with an indefinite status that says 'looking forward to this weekend' or something like it. I think it is nice that the families have a chance to convert the page into an online memorial. Could this get abused? Probably, but i think that those abuses will be few and far between.

I definitely think this is a great idea. Though yeah I have no idea how they'd prevent abuse..

I mean they're saying they will use obituaries/proof of death as proof, but how hard could it be to fake something like that in photoshop etc?

Yea it is pretty creepy. There was one girl that had a countdown of when she was moving away (which she was excited about), and that was pretty weird to see it still ticking away on her page.

result of several complaints regarding status updates and suggestions from deceased users, according to The Guardian.

Ummmm.. what? Dead talking?

Never used Facebook, eh? You get reminded to add a deceased user as a friend because you got mutual friends with him... and that's not good.

Yeah, Facebook would give you automatic suggestions such as "Mark Williams hasn't been active recently, write on his wall!"

Or something along those lines.