What to do about a deceased member’s Facebook account


Social media, like a gale, has blown across the whole world, sweeping in everyday people, celebrities, presidents, corporations, societies, churches into its current. There are a plethora of social media sites available on your computer and mobile phones. However, a few names like 2go, Twitter, stand out. Out of the many, Facebook is the biggest and most popular.
As at October 2012, the number of active Facebook users monthly was put at 1.01 billion. Other statistics released as at that time include 140.3 billion friend connections, 219 billion photos uploaded, 17 billion location-tagged posts and 62.6 million songs played some 22 billion times, underscoring the immense popularity of this platform. Having a Facebook account is as common as having an e-mail address. If you happen to meet someone without a Facebook account, you may be tempted to ask, “What planet are you from?”
But with the ever increasing popularity of this particular platform, there have been a number of challenges associated with it. Apart from the security challenge which came to light with the sad story of the late Cynthia Okosugu, who was murdered by her Facebook ‘friends’ who invited her out, there is also the challenge of what to do with a deceased family member’s account.
The account of a deceased Facebook user can well be used for mischievous purposes in much the same way as the phone number, bank account or other assets of the deceased can be hijacked by interested parties who may be colleagues at the office, friends or other family members near or distant for selfish reasons.
A popular example of this disturbing act was with Goldie Harvey. Weeks after the singer and ex-Big Brother Africa housemate had passed on, a Facebook account with her identity was noticed to be still active.
Also, there was the case of a prolific journalist who worked with one of the top national dailies who died this year. Again, the troubling act of impersonating the deceased journalist was noticed by his colleagues who made extra effort to alert all who may have been in the dark over the journalist’s demise, lest they fall prey to possible fraudulent activities that could be perpetuated in the name of the late media man.
What to do
Thankfully, Facebook has provided a way of dealing with a deceased family member’s account through a feature they call ‘Memorialisation.’
What happens when a deceased person’s account is memorialised? When a person passes away, Facebook can memorialise the account to protect the departed’s privacy. Here are some of the key features of memorialised accounts:  No one can log into a memorialized account and no new friends can be accepted. Depending on the privacy settings of the deceased person’s account, friends can share memories on the memorialised timeline. Anyone can send private messages to the deceased person
However, content the deceased person shared such as photos, posts remains on Facebook and is visible to the audience it was shared with.
Memorialised timelines don’t appear in ‘People You May Know’ and other suggestions, so that people cannot become ‘friends’ on Facebook with the deceased any longer.
To activate this feature for an affected accounted, Facebook requires that the family member fills a special request form on Facebook. The form requires you to supply the full name of the deceased, plus the web link of the Facebook account. This is obtained by opening the person’s Facebook page and copying the address that appears in the browser’s address bar. The web link is required to uniquely identify the account as multiple Facebook accounts have the same names.
Proof of death like a link (URL) to an obituary or news article among others, is also required to memorialise the account.
The feature can be located by typing the topic ‘memorilaise’ in the Help section on Facebook.

Immortalising a loved one
Creating a timeline in remembrance of an already deceased person, according to Facebook’s policy is not allowed. Instead, the social media encourages you to create a Page to do this. This is how survivors may keep the legacy of the beloved departed alive.



Via tribune
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