Facebook Memorials – Do you know what to do with the Facebook account of a friend when they die? And what do you want to happen with your own page?
Generally there are two things you can do; if you know the deceased’s username, and password, you can log in, and queue the account for deletion. Provided no one logs in, the account will be closed usually within 14 days. It’s best of course, to let the Facebook friends, and online discussion groups know that the person has deceased. If necessary, the executor can send a copy of the death certificate, and the account will be removed.
Another option is to memorialise their Facebook account. When you request this, private information is removed, friend requests are disallowed and the deceased will not come up in generic search results. Friends who were approved prior to the death of someone can see the memorial page, and leave messages of condolence. However, the system is not without difficulties, spare a thought for parents of a deceased child who were not Facebook friends with their child prior to their passing, but now want to see their page.
Wills can assist here, and in all cases of online data. If you have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, blogs, email, photo-sharing or any other online sites, its best to make sure that, upon your death, the right people have access to your passwords, and that your accounts are dealt with in the way you want them to be dealt with. For example, do you want the blog to be deleted, frozen, or for it to continue; and what online friends do you want to be notified of your death. When organising your will, consider what you want done with your digital life. There isn’t much of a standard procedure in the cyber world, so the best plan is to decide what you want to be done with your digital assets when you decide what you want done with your tangible assets.
Strange things can happen if it’s not dealt with, eg it’s rather eerie for the mortal to receive a Facebook request to reconnect with an old acquaintance or friend who has long since departed.