Facebook of the dead changes profile policies

Reynolds Pictures

Deadly serious about user profiles.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced on Friday it has dearly departed from its policy of changing deceased user profiles to "friends-only", choosing instead to leave profile settings "as-is." Also on offer is a "Look Back" video, intended for viewing by whoever has permission to peruse a loved one's profile.

The policy change has elicited varied reactions. Should profile settings be left to Facebook, or is legislation needed to regulate the digital hereafter? Morbidly curious bloggers can't help noticing that while Facebook loses young users, older ones may stick around forever.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers live for the weekend.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.


Sharon Gaudin has forgotten all about MySpace:

Facebook may be shelling out $19 billion...for...WhatsApp to stanch the departure of younger users.


Facebook...may be the largest social network by far, but it's still dealing with...cultivating a...growing user base. Facebook doesn't want to become the next MySpace, and it will spend a lot of money to make sure that doesn't happen. ... Facebook doesn't want to become the next MySpace.


Today, MySpace is little more than [an] afterthought. That is what Facebook wants to avoid.  MORE


As intended, Zach Miners remains visible:

What will happen to your Facebook account when you die? Facebook [has] come up with what it hopes is a better way to deal with a sensitive issue.


When a Facebook user dies, the person's mourners can ask Facebook to memorialize the account. Until now, if an account was memorialized its visibility was restricted to friends only.


[With changes Friday, ] memorialized accounts will be left as they are, so that posts are visible to whomever the user intended.


Seeing value...other companies have sprung up to memorialize the dead, sometimes in curious ways. One site, Eterni.me, collects and processes a deceased person's personal information and uses it to create an avatar that their loved ones can chat with.


[Facebook] has done a good job of treating these issues with sensitivity but...this is no longer enough. In an age where many people store all or their photos and letters online, it's time for governments to step in and modernize probate and estate laws to take account of our digital afterlife.  MORE


Straight from the hearse's mouth:

Over the past several months, we've been thinking about and working on better ways for people to remember loved ones.


Based on conversations inspired by these questions, we've decided to make an important change to how we preserve legacies on Facebook. Up to now, when a person's account was memorialized, we restricted its visibility to friends-only. ... Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person's content as-is.


Today, we're also glad to begin offering a way for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one to see that person's "Look Back" video.  MORE


John Herrman recites the facebook of the dead:

Facebook's new death policy announcement, "Remembering Our Loved Ones," starts on a promising note.


The justification for the change is also odd, not least because it refers to the online legacies of the dead as "content."


There's a reason that, in the absence of previous spoken or written requests, people refer to the imagined wishes of dead loved ones as what he or she "would have wanted." To say a dead person wanted something - or wants something - is presumptuous in the extreme, unless you're close kin or a life partner.


If history is any guide, data posted to Facebook should be expected to become more visible over time.


This is Facebook's legalistic view of privacy: always within the written boundaries of our mutual agreements, but not necessarily in their spirit. And now this view extends to death.  MORE


Bertila Helena looks back to the future:

We know of some folks who find sharing news of bereavement on social networks highly inappropriate. But we've noticed [people] have been taking to Facebook to air such deep personal losses. So it doesn't appear odd for [Facebook to offer] Look Back videos of those who've passed away.


Just in case you were wondering about your own Look Back video, there's an edit option...which lets you add or remove photos.  MORE


Meanwhile, Caitlin McGarry laughs in the face of death:

Death is a funny thing. Of all the major issues to consider--funeral plans, family, friends--in this weird world we live in, now we have to think about Facebook.


So, if you have a public Facebook page that you don't want to be so public when you pass away, you should make some privacy setting changes right about now.  MORE

Computerworld Blogs Newsletter

Subscribe now to the Blogs Newsletter for a daily summary of the most recent and relevant blog posts at Computerworld.  

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon