Death and Facebook

I’m sorry that I’m the one that has to tell you this, but here goes: You’re going to die someday. So will everybody you know. So will everybody you don’t. Yes, even me, loathe as I am to admit it. So far, my strategy of “draining the life force of the young and innocent” has only led to a catastrophic corrosion of my morality, and a nationwide manhunt. Chapo Guzmán, eat your heart out.

Since I’m on a roll with this whole “making obvious statements” thing, I’m also gonna assume that you’re on Facebook. Not as much of a certainty as the whole “death” thing, but not exactly a baseless assumption either considering that, according to Facebook’s newsroom, approximately a little over 25% of the world’s population are monthly active users of the world’s foremost social media site.This doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that this means that 1.86 billion people use Facebook. To give you an idea of how much people that is, if you were to start at one and count to 1.86 billion, then it would take you way too long, and if that’s how you ‘re spending your afternoon, I strongly suggest coming up with a different hobby.

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“Draining the life forces of the young and innocent”, for instance.

 I was pondering Facebook a few days ago (as I often do while I tensely wait for my friends to show some form of appreciation for the snarky post I made about Roll-Up-the Rim), and realized something: As much as Facebook dominates our lives nowadays, our Social Media Overlords wouldn’t actually have any actual way of knowing if a Facebook user had died.

I mean, obviously, the immediate halting of any form of update could be considered a solid hint that somebody may have bitten it, but it’s not like death is the only reason that somebody may stop using their accounts. It could just be that they’re busy. Or, y’know, that they value their sanity.

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Apparently, Facebook has an answer for this: Just let them know. If someone you know has kicked the proverbial bucket, notify Facebook, and their default action is to have the account memorialized, meaning that they’ll lock it so that no one can log in to it (unless they are authorized to. Or unless they’re a law enforcement officer with a warrant, presumably), and friends and family of the deceased can cherish the memories that they and the deceased shared together on Facebook.

I’m not one to sing the praises of soulless multinational companies, but that’s neat, I suppose, if a bit anticlimactic. Part of me kind of wishes that my aunt who thinks that my phone is giving me brain cancer was right about Facebook hacking our devices to monitor and/or mysteriously shut down our heartbeats, though. Would at least make for some interesting epitaphs.


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3 thoughts on “Death and Facebook

  1. Really interesting post! I remember seeing an account on my feed become memorialized, and I was so surprised Facebook could do that. It’s pretty neat to turn the account into a place where people can go to view/share memories of a person.


  2. I have had a few friends that have unfortunately passed and I enjoy going by their Facebook pages once and a while to see what others have posted about their memories with them. Its like cracking open that old photo album, you just have access to everyone elses too. I also think it’s neat.


  3. When my mother-in-law passed away, the last thing we thought about was her Facebook account, but this year her birthday popped up on my feed and I thought, “Well crap I guess I have to do something about this.” So I wandered over to the help section and asked them to memorialize her account. Turns out literally anyone can do it. As long as you can direct Facebook to an obituary, they’ll memorialize the account. Now, it takes a death certificate to remove the account entirely.
    This whole thing makes me wonder, how hard would it be to memorialize an account of someone not dead? I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone do this as some sick prank for like April Fools or something.


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