Facebook Friend Recommendations From The Grave

Every time you visit the Facebook homepage you receive recommendations about potential individuals that you should friend but what happens when the person being recommended is dead? That’s exactly what has been happening to one of my family members for the past week and when I asked her about it, the response was understandable, “It’s a little bit creepy!” She then asked me what to do to remove it.

The way that Facebook’s system works is that when they learn that somebody has passed away, they switch the profile to memorial status. Facebook needs to be notified about the person and there isn’t exactly a link under a user’s profile photo that says “Mark this person as deceased”. Ultimately it’s up to the family of the deceased individual what happens to the profile but many decide to keep it up to let users comment on the wall. A New York Times article over the weekend described how one memorial page was used among the author’s friends:

After Luke died, his Facebook page became an online gathering place for his hundreds of Facebook friends. They exchanged updates on his Wall – including news about his wife’s condition – reminiscences, photographs and a poem by Rilke. There was a report on his cremation ceremony in Uganda. The post said Luke was sent off with Madagascar chocolate, root beer and a small “environmental justice” note tucked in his pocket.

Fortunately Luke’s family had figured out how to contact Facebook. If you aren’t aware of the process, all you need to do is visit the deceased users form which will let you enter the person’s information. Facebook will then go through the process of memorializing the account. The concept of creating a virtual memorial for deceased individuals is still something that’s foreign to most individuals.

In one way it’s kind of a cool opportunity to connect with others that were affected by the individual’s life. On the other hand, there’s kind of a creepy feeling to be getting status updates from someone who has passed away. Do you think profiles should be removed or memorialized after one passes?