Meaning that yes, the Social Network will still have access to your personal information – and those college keg stand shots and other embarrassing pictures, statuses and posts you wouldn’t mind disappearing forever – after you die.
Facebook will, however, let you put a loved one’s profile on “memorial mode,” which allows the page to serve as a tribute to the individual. Only the people who were friends with the late individual at the time of his or her death will be able to view the profile, though.
But until Friday, this wasn’t even an option. Writes Facebook in a recent blog post:
Up to now, when a person’s account was memorialized, we restricted its visibility to friends-only. This meant that people could no longer see the account or any of its content unless they were Facebook friends with the person who passed away. Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person’s content as-is. This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy. We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.
In my opinion, this is pretty creepy. When I go away, I don’t really want to be remembered by a digital gravestone. I don’t want Facebook to continue to harvest whatever personal data can still be pulled off my profile. But if it helps all my family and friends cope with my death, then sure.
In all seriousness, if keeping a Facebook profile page of a passed person helps those mourning the loss, then great. Death is obviously a sensitive subject, and it seems like Facebook is trying to tread lightly on the subject (and after 10 years in existence, it’s also about time they figured out how to handle this situation.) But who is this new mode actually benefitting: mourners or Facebook? Might the Social Network continue to mine for data post-mortem?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image via FourtyTwoTimes