My Wonderful Life

Death in a Digital World

posted on 8/10/11 by Staff

Facebook currently has over 750 million active users. The world’s population consists of 6,775,235,000. That’s roughly 11% of the entire population on Facebook! It’s no wonder that each year, members of the largest social network pass away. What happens to this person’s profile when they go - their thoughts, their photos, their connections?

Before 2005, the answer to this question was simple: nothing. However, those days are over and Facebook has made great strides to solve any issue surrounding how we handle profiles of deceased persons.

Max Kelly, the Head of Security at Facebook, described it best when he said, “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.”

Now, when someone passes away, Facebook allows their profile to be turned into a memorialized account. This means that only people who are currently friends with the deceased on Facebook will be able to view their profile. There is also the option to remove the deceased’s account completely. However, one should consider whether removing the account would cause more harm than good.

Friends and family of a deceased person have found a place within Facebook to share memories and reminisce. Memorializing an account can be a great place to post information about the funeral or other services.  In the long term it can be a great way for people to continue to remember a friend or loved one, years after they’ve gone. 

Have you witnessed this phenomenon? Has it helped or hurt your ability to mourn? Would you want your own Facebook page to become a memorial?

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