Facebook to ‘memorialise’ profiles
Profiles will have personal information such as contact details removed, and will only be visible to confirmed friends. ‘Memorialising’ a profile will also prevent it appearing in the newly added ‘Suggestions’ panel, which encourages members to get in touch with people they haven’t recently interacted with.
The plans obviously call for a level of maturity, and I’d hope that nobody abuses them by submitting false information. However, even if this does happen initially, I would expect that once the practice is commonplace people would be more inclined to be respectful. To avoid mistakes, Facebook are asking that a death is proved by sending an obituary or news story.
These changes appear to have been in development since the Virginia Tech massacre, when friends of the victims campaigned to have their profiles excluded from a 30-day inactivity rule which sees profiles deleted.
“When someone leaves us, they don’t leave our memories or our social network,” Max Kelly, head of security at the firm, wrote in the official Facebook blog. “To reflect that reality, we created the idea of ‘memorialised’ profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed.”
Personally, I think it’s a really good idea. As Max Kelly says, the reality is that when someone dies their Facebook page will remain, and currently the only option is to leave it as it is, or delete it completely. Neither seems quite right really. A ‘memorialised’ page will allow friends to leave tributes, as well as see pictures. Now that so many aspects of life are played out online, it seems a natural step to extend that into death.