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February 22, 2014

FaceBook updates its what happens to your data after you pass away


What will happen to your Facebook account when you pass away? Facebook has reportedly been giving it a lot of  thought, and believe they have come up with what it hopes, is a better way to deal with a very sensitive issue.

When a Facebook user dies, the person’s mourners can ask Facebook to memorialise the account. Until now, if an account was memorialised it was only  visible to a restricted few like family and friends.

Facebook said in a post explaining the changes:

“This meant that people could no longer see the account or any of its content unless they were Facebook friends with the person who passed away.”

But starting Friday, memorialised accounts will be left as they are, so that posts are visible to whomever the user intended.

With the changes, Facebook is trying to strike a better balance between acknowledging the “wishes and legacy” of the deceased and serving the wishes of their loved ones.

FaceBook say:

“We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see. Changes like this are part of a larger, ongoing effort to help people when they face difficult challenges like bereavement on Facebook.”

Actually the above statement is not really true. FaceBook cannot respect the deceased person’s wishes because they don’t know what they are!
They’ve never asked!
If FaceBook really want to deal with this in a correct and easy way they should have under General Account Setting a section for the user to fill in expressing their wishes on whether to delete their entire account or other options like visible to family and friends only upon their death.

The changes apply only to memorialised accounts, and while Facebook knows a lot about its users, there are limits. The company only knows a user has died if it is reported to them, a spokeswoman said.

Other social media companies face the same problem as their usage grows, and as people post ever more personal information about their lives.

Other companies have sprung up to memorialise the dead, sometimes in curious ways. One site,, will collect and process a deceased person’s personal information and uses it to create an avatar that their loved ones can chat with. At the moment they are taking invitations on their site. “It’s like a Skype chat from the past,” the company explains on its website.

Having read “Remembering Our Loved Ones” on Facebook’s newsroom page I doubt that they have looked at this in the correct way. It’s as though they can’t see the wood for the trees. They seem to be devoting serious thought to a relatively simple if new question: what to do with a person’s virtual identity when they decease in life? But are they going about it in the wrong way? Well yes ─ as I said ─ They haven’t asked YOU, that’s the problem!


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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini