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Facebook Changes Policy For Profiles Of Deceased Users

Facebook Changes Policy For Profiles Of Deceased Users

As if there weren't already enough reasons to be careful about what you say on social media, Facebook is now leaving the profiles of deceased users exactly as they were when they were alive.

Previously, Facebook's process for memorializing a profile included making it private to all but the family and friends of the deceased person. Now, whatever settings the profile had while a person was alive will remain after they're gone.

Facebook announced the change in policy in a blog post on Friday saying, "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."

Naturally, death is a very delicate topic and Facebook has to be careful with announcements like this. Some may see keeping public profiles the way they were just wrong.

Such as... the folks at Valleywag, who in response to the announcement wrote this:

"What it sounds like: Let's respect the wishes of the dead.

What it actually is: Let's take advantage of the fact that our privacy settings are still hugely inconsistent and confusing. No one can whine about that when they're dead!"

Alternatively, Facebook is simply trying to keep their policy in line with what users want.

Earlier this year, a father tearfully asked Facebook to allow him access to his dead son's "Look Back" video, a video highlighting a person's activities on Facebook.

The plea eventually reached Facebook who has now decided to allow users to request Look Back videos for their deceased loved ones. Even so, a writer for Gigaom thought that Facebook's handling of peoples' profiles still isn't quite enough, saying:

"Ultimately, it will be necessary for governments to update the ticket of probate and estate laws already on the books to take account of our new digital lifestyles. ... Until they do, we can expect to hear more stories like the one about the grieving father on YouTube."

Along with the changes announced Friday, Facebook said they still had more to share regarding bereavement on their social network in the coming months.

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shm31212 February 24 2014 at 8:15 AM

I think it should be left to families of the individuals. My Dad died 2 years ago and I still have him on my facebook page. I would be very upset if his account were suddenly taken down. I don't think that people who don't want their deceased family members accounts taken down should speak for the rest of us. I also don't feel that we should be judged for wanting to keep that reminder of our loved one. If you want to fight facebook on this than do it for yourself not anybody else and if I find out somebody went and sued facebook and they took all the accounts down, then I would sue that specific person.

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redliontat February 24 2014 at 7:16 AM

Sadly FB is like 'the mark of the beast' requirement for some game and social access so I have a total private one with no friends or postings. I refuse to verify my acct by giving a private mobile phone number. Thus I cannot post on some sites. FB is big brother not the government and capitalism and free enterprise spies on our every move to sell us and profile us. It is as totalitarian as commies.

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salesfouraba February 24 2014 at 6:52 AM

Facebook is a tool of its users., in my my never to be so humble opinion. the USERS are the problem ! For some reason some of the users have an uncontrolable need to expose their whole lives on an electronic grafitti wall.

Face book should have a way for the family of the deceased to close the account.
Sort of like painting overthe grafitti on the wall.

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PHILL AND TRISHA February 24 2014 at 5:51 AM

..just another of the many reasons to not use facebook...or huffington post....both want to "own you and your personal info....for life"...

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artfrankmiami February 24 2014 at 5:00 AM

A friend of mine died last year at this time. I had just made comments and had read comments through the day before from him. Then I awoke around 2am and was looking at facebook for about an hour when I saw a message from his sister saying he had died in his sleep. She asked what to do and the majority of us said to leave it up as is. Once in awhile I still hit my Twitter feed on my phone on by accident and their's the only message I got from him on it back in 2010 that in those few words say everything about who he was.

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trfyol February 24 2014 at 4:41 AM

Never used it .... Never will....

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kvravit February 24 2014 at 3:11 AM

How does Facebook even know or find out whether someone is dead or still alive?

A simple solution would be for people to leave access to their password to whomever they trust with such things. Maybe they can put that in their will. Then it's left up to the family member or whoever, and not to FB itself, what then happens with the account.

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Korean Peninsula February 24 2014 at 3:08 AM

Social media isn't the problem. It is system and policy behind Social media that is big problem. Facebook privacy policy has serious problems. Facebook is becoming like " Socialist Social Media" System.

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Freddy De Joint February 24 2014 at 1:12 AM

I closed my account years ago, Facebook and all social media"s will hurt this country

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Alexis Elizabeth February 24 2014 at 12:06 AM

I believe that face book SHOULD have the right to close pages of deceased individuals. If families want to memorialize their deceased loved ones there are plenty of websites out that are for doing that. Face Book is NOT the place to be doing that.

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1 reply to Alexis Elizabeth's comment
Jeff February 24 2014 at 1:47 AM

You didn't bother to READ the article, did you? Facebook is going to CLOSE the pages of dead people. Instead, they're going to not only LEAVE THEM UP, they're also going to leave their privacy settings how they WERE. If they were PUBLIC, they'll REMAIN public, rather than being limited to only family members and friends, EVEN if family requests that.

That's just WRONG!

Guess I'll have to put "a Facebook clause" in my will!

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