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Can Twitter and Facebook Deal With Their Dead?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'll-get-my-cart dept.

Social Networks 284

Barence writes "One and a half million Facebook users die each year. Twitter faces a similar mortality rate. Yet the social networks have been relatively slow to deal with the uncomfortable business of death. Only this week has Twitter finally unveiled a policy for handling the accounts of dead members. Yet the process for closing the accounts of deceased relatives is complicated, while reminders to follow the accounts of people who have long since passed away continue to arrive, adding to the pain of grieving friends and relatives."

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So serious (5, Funny)

odies (1869886) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228014)

You know what, before I die I will create a program that posts random predefined messages to my Facebook account after I have died. One of the morning messages could be "having a morning coffee with satan" and late night message could be "man do I appreciate cold beer right now".

You only die once. The least you can do is have some fun creeping out people about it.

Re:So serious (2, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228138)

Awww, why did you have to go and plant that idea in my head? Now I've got a serious jones to reactivate my FB account just so I can do this 30-40 years from now!

Re:So serious (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228158)

Death seldom tells you when it comes.

But I do like your idea.

Buy a shell account and let the program run.

Re:So serious (4, Insightful)

cormander (1273812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228196)

Just use a dead-man's switch. The program checks to see when you last updated your FB account, and if it's been more than a few weeks, it starts its random posts.

Re:So serious (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228232)

These days, most deaths are not surprises. Maybe not in Facebook's demographics, but most deaths are not.

Re:So serious (2, Insightful)

laron (102608) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228482)

I think that depends on your definition of surprise.
"I expected this, but not so soon" could be written on many tombstones.

Re:So serious (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228170)

Brilliant!

I like your style. Take it even further though. Start building a system to automate your entire workflow to mimic you on a day to day basis so it will carry on as if it were you entirely postmortem. Slowly and steadily you will have given the computer enough information about you that nobody will know the difference between you and your application. Then the application will start to assume your online identity. Keep that computer in check!

But really... I'm going to try this. It's just shame I won't be able to see how it freaks people out.

Re:So serious (5, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228190)

> One of the morning messages could be "having a morning coffee with satan" and late night message could be "man do I appreciate cold beer right now".

I've had sort of the same idea, only mine is an IM bot that will occasionally fire off messages to my friends at 3 AM saying things like "Look behind you" or "HE COMES".

Re:So serious (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228586)

That's wrong. Seriously and epically wrong. lol

Re:So serious (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228268)

I post messages like that anyway, and I'm still alive! People will probably shit their pants when they see what I post after I die.

Re:So serious (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228384)

You know what, before I die I will create a program that posts random predefined messages to my Facebook account after I have died.

This makes me want to create a task which prompts once a week/2weeks wherever the user is still alive.

Once you stop confirming, your account gets taking over by the random predefined mode.

Image the stress after coming back after a 3-week holiday...

Re:So serious (0, Redundant)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228532)

This is a cool idea send me the code LOL

Bah, who needs a script (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228596)

You know, the ancient Egyptians believed that basically the Ka (soul) can move back and forth between the underworld and real world, as long as a suitable support for the Ka is provided and if possible a spirit door. (Read the shape of a door carved on the wall.) You could literally write a letter to grandma and leave it in her tomb, for her to read when she drops by. In fact, it even makes more sense than just talking and expecting grandma to hear from wherever she may be.

Me, I plan to take it to the logical conclusion and be buried with a laptop and internet access. Screw scripts, I'll read my own emails and post my own updates ;)

Unfortunately so far people tend to look funny when I ask about a crypt with electricity and ADSL ;)

Re:So serious (2, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228598)

This brings up an important point for me.... what about the individuals say in their own "digital legacy". What if my family doesn't agree with the things I say (often the case)... will they be able to posthumously censor me? Sure I am dead, and my feelings on the matter will be void... but even though something is "my account" and "I am dead" ... it was public or semi-public. It was between me and a section of the world.... my next of kin may be given control over the account but, my words belong to me and the people that I broadcast them to, there is an element of cultural record there that goes beyond my families grief.

Perhaps there should be an option for a "will" of sorts.

I would like to be able to set the "upon my death, close off new posts, but keep my old ones available" option.

Maybe allow me to select a new theme or a digital epitaph.... or just a "final post".

-Steve

Poor grieving relatives... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228038)


But in order to achieve this, the grieving relatives must send Twitter their full name and contact details, an explanation of their relationship to the deceased, the user name of the Twitter account and links to a public obituary that provides proof of death.

That's ridiculous; Netcraft confirmation should suffice.

.

Snore (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228048)

Automated systems are insensitive. News at 11.

Re:Snore (2, Insightful)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228248)

I kind of agree. In the face of a death, whether or not their social networking accounts stay active seems like a pretty trivial issue to me. When the trauma is still fresh, I can forgive a person who acts a little irrationally. However, once some time has passed, why would anyone even care anymore? Unless you're getting spam from someone who's logging into the dead person's account to help their own Farmville game or whatnot, you shouldn't even be getting anything that would remind you it's still active.

Re:Snore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228430)

"So and So hasn't logged in, in a while- 'Say Hi!'"

Facebook puts stuff like that up in your sidebar.

Considering how sad my mother gets around the anniversaries of her parents' deaths, it would probably bum her out to see that. But I could also see it desensitizing her to the fact they're gone...

Regardless... they should definitely have a policy in place for people not wise enough to 'will' online accounts away for someone else to clean up.

Re:Snore (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228568)

PayPal deactivates accounts after long periods of inactivity. It might not be a bad idea for Twitter and Facebook to drop you an email a couple times a year, requesting that you log into your account just to confirm you're still alive.

If you use it frequently, no problem--you won't receive the notice.

Let your account languish for six months, though, and it's probably time to decide whether or not you still want it. And if you can't even be bothered to login once every six months, then you either don't give a shit or you're dead.

Re:Snore (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228472)

Well, now that fb has put in that little box in the corner that says 'it's been a while since you talked to Steve, you should send him a message,' there are a few reminders.

Re:Snore (1)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228546)

Well, now that fb has put in that little box in the corner that says 'it's been a while since you talked to Steve, you should send him a message,' there are a few reminders.

I must have trained myself to ignore all the junk they put on the side even better than I'd thought. I had no idea they did that. However, that does allow for a simple solution. Just remove that feature completely, not that I expect Facebook to seriously consider that.

Re:Snore (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228602)

That box has been there for over a year (I've only had my account for over a year, so...)

Not just social networks (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228058)

It's not just a problem with social networks, of course; the question of what to do with a site when the owner dies is a question that has to be dealt with by all websites.

Re:Not just social networks (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228078)

Don't worry Taco and Neal will be around for a long time. At least as long as they stay away from hockey games.

Re:Not just social networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228506)

And even when they do, a legacy of poorly edit summaries and posts that are suspiciously ad-like in nature is easy to continue.

Re:Not just social networks (3, Interesting)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228564)

Perhaps they're already gone and the role is being fulfilled à la The Dread Pirate Roberts. This might explain some of the step-changes in editing quality over the last decade.

Re:Not just social networks (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228094)

What's more common is the question of what happens to an owner when his site dies.

Re:Not just social networks (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228132)

the question of what to do with a site when the owner dies is a question that has to be dealt with by all websites

It really only has to be dealt with by the interactive 'free' sites like FB. If I die, evenutally my domain will die, my flickr pro account etc. will all die - All because my corpse will fail to pay my bills.

Re:Not just social networks (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228144)

That's easy, eventually the subscription for the hosting will expire.

Re:Not just social networks (2, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228680)

And not just websites, other automated systems have this issue, too! Like that collections agency that didn't even phone, just filed lawsuits in their own jurisdiction and hoped for default judgments. Well, that's way too many lawsuits to pay for lawyer time for, so they just had a computer automatically generate lawsuits. You need a signed affidavit though. No problem, just have the computer insert a signature copied from a scanned document! So, like most collections agencies, and like the RIAA/MPAA members, they sent out thousands of lawsuits "signed" by a lawyer who never even saw the documents, let alone read them. Not a problem, common practice right? Well, except that for this one company, that lawyer whose signature they "pirated" died. So they were filing lawsuits "signed" by a dead man well after his death. Boy were their faces red! Not only did their case get thrown out when this was revealed, but the counter-suit cost them a 9 million dollar judgment. I'm amazed they got away so lightly with submitting forged affidavits to the court!

The system should automatically disable an account (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228070)

... when it reaches 300 unanswered pokes.

Re:The system should automatically disable an acco (3, Funny)

charles xavier (1861908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228106)

Who in their right mind pokes a dead person?

Re:The system should automatically disable an acco (4, Funny)

manybit (1876458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228184)

Yeah... Looking forward to the new groups. "Need 250 more people to poke my recently deceased grandma!"

Re:The system should automatically disable an acco (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228300)

How about if enough people write "Good night sweet prince" on your wall?

Perhaps a "key escrow" feature? (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228080)

Maybe it would be nice for social networking services to have a "key escrow" feature, or some way where trusted people who know the person can validate the account as dead automatically and have it disabled, similar to having key revokers in PGP that can yank a public key if the private key gets lost.

This feature would be up to the discretion of the individual, because this could be quite easily abused.

Re:Perhaps a "key escrow" feature? (4, Insightful)

gront (594175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228176)

Just keep a list of passwords and such in your safe/safety deposit box, along with account numbers and all that other info. Sure, your folks are going to be able to look at your pr0n collection after yer dead, but at least they will have a list of your bank accounts and such. Otherwise that computer will just end up on ebay as is, right?

Re:Perhaps a "key escrow" feature? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228424)

This is assuming people one trusts have access to such stuff. As soon as a person dies, safe deposit boxes get frozen, and it takes a probate judge to un-freeze those. Same with safes on people's property.

Plus, people I might trust may not be close geographically.

Ideally, it would be nice to have a secret key sharing system (Shamir's Secret Sharing is a popular algorithm), where the key is reconstituted, where X out of Y total people need to think the person is dead before the key can be regenerated and the account accessed.

Re:Perhaps a "key escrow" feature? (4, Interesting)

Spectre (1685) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228312)

It wouldn't be too easily abused if it did one or more of the following:
  • Required at least two people who had been given "declare dead" rights to declare the death
  • Sent an e-mail to the account holder's registered e-mail address with a link to an "I'm not dead" page, no response in, say, 72 hours and the account goes "dead" (although it should still have the "dead" status be revocable after the 72 hours have expired)

I don't really know why this would be a problem for Twitter, though. It isn't like the dead person is going to be texting Twitter, so there shouldn't be any updates being posted?

Re:Perhaps a "key escrow" feature? (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228362)

How about simply requesting death certificates, obituaries, etc. along with a (say) 1-week confirmation period from the supposed deceased?

Gayest Working Man's Hero Ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228092)

If I ever spawn as son who talks like Steven Slater I hope somebody either kills me or him.

"I'm such a fucking faggot, that even when I quit my job in the best way possible I still look and talk like a fag."

  I mean, if I ever get to see a flight attendent curse out one of these entitled, misbahaved, American spawns of Satan, I hope he at least doesn't sound like he will be probably be in the middle of buttsecks when the police come to arrest him for deployed the emergency slide and taking a couple beers with him.

I don't know about Twitter, but.. (5, Interesting)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228108)

A very good friend of mine was murdered in October of 2008 (for those of you in Toronto/Ontario/Canada, Bailey Zaveda, the girl that was gunned down while outside of a bar having a cigarette) by someone she didn't know and had no involvement with.

Anyway, her facebook account still exists, and I don't see the problem with that. Everyone knows what happened to her, and her profile served as part of the grieving process for many people. To this day, they post their latest happenings in their lives on her wall, say happy birthday to her, etc.

I mean, if the interest here is to get the facebook.com/username or twitter userid back, then revoke those after say, 1 year of inactivity, but I don't see the harm in leaving the account there for people to reminisce, grieve, or whatever.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (5, Interesting)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228276)

A friend of mine had a mate of his die a few years back. the guy was cremated and they have a facebook page for his ashes that tells of his postmortem travels to rock concerts and the like. He was not even on facebook until after he was dead. (insert over-my-dead-body-joke here)

If only my friends and relatives can be as creative with the remains of my corpse...

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (3, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228358)

That's really surreal. I can only imagine what kind of Facebook profile question answers you pick for a dead guy.

"Relationship Status: It's Complicated."

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (5, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228388)

When facebook reminds me that it is a dead person's birthday, that can be kind of nice as a reminder of good times. When facebook tells me that I havent contacted a dead person in a long time and I should try to re-connect with them, it is slightly upsetting.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228488)

When facebook tells me that I havent contacted a dead person in a long time and I should try to re-connect with them, it is slightly upsetting.

I adblocked that div with an element hiding rule. I don’t need it suggesting when I should reconnect with my friends in the first place.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228610)

And of course, the ads displayed just beneath "You haven't talked to DeadGeorge in a while. Reconnect Today!" will all be for Tarot Card Readers and offers to 'Like' Crossing Over with John Edward.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (1)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228698)

Clearly Facebook needs to push ads for Ouija boards and séance materials when they suggest a re-connect.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (4, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228492)

Mass casualties are stranger. I have a lot of friends in Haiti. With facebook its all a little creepy. You see my friends interaction right before the earthquake through the wall posts. Its like a digital pompeii. Its just really sad to look at all of the promise, all of the hope ... gone.

Re:I don't know about Twitter, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228672)

There is a simple solution - for those who are not yet dead.

Ask them what they want to happen to their account when they die?
It should be a setting.

Pre-death preparations (3, Insightful)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228110)

The problem would be greatly simplified if people kept a private record of all the services they use (or at least, the major ones), with login and password details. Have the list secured away somewhere, to be given to next of kin at time of death. That way they can be managed properly by whoever has to deal with the estate.

As people give more and more importance to their online presence, they need to think about how to take care of that presence in the same way they do the deed of their house, their car, etc.

Re:Pre-death preparations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228226)

Having a list is good. Having most bank accounts require you to change your password every month or so, not so much.

Re:Pre-death preparations (2, Informative)

Aydsman (718016) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228496)

The problem would be greatly simplified if people kept a private record of all the services they use (or at least, the major ones), with login and password details. Have the list secured away somewhere, to be given to next of kin at time of death. That way they can be managed properly by whoever has to deal with the estate.

I've just realised I've started to do just this in one service: LastPass

All I need to do is leave an envelope sealed with my Will which has my LastPass master password & details about how to log in to the website. Anyone with basic computer skills can deactivate accounts from that info. Plus it will always be kept up to date with the latest login details.

Re:Pre-death preparations (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228540)

The problem would be greatly simplified if people kept a private record of all the services they use (or at least, the major ones), with login and password details.

NSA already has this "backed up" for you; just not on any servers you'll have access to.

Junk mailers manage it (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228114)

When someone dies, their junk mail stops. It's pretty creepy when you notice this.

Re:Junk mailers manage it (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228360)

When someone dies, their junk mail stops. It's pretty creepy when you notice this.

Or if it doesn't stop, instead of being to "Valued Customer John Doe, save $$$ on Viagra" it's "To the grieving widow of John Doe, save $$$$ on Viagra"

Where's the Bureau of ATF? (5, Funny)

PocariSweat1991 (1651929) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228116)

"One and a half million Facebook users die each year."

That's about 3 times as many annual deaths as tobacco users!
Where's the Bureau of Alcohol, Twitter, and Facebook when you need them?

Re:Where's the Bureau of ATF? (1, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228246)

Twitters die younger
Facebook when pregnant harms your baby
Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop posting
Facebook is highly addictive, don't start
Farmville may reduce blood flow and cause impotence
Protect children: don't make them a zombie

Re:Where's the Bureau of ATF? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228470)

That's one more good reason to stop using Facebook if you ask me!

Re:Where's the Bureau of ATF? (1)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228480)

It's actually called the Bureau of AIM, Twitter, and Facebook.

Expiry? (4, Insightful)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228136)

There ought to be an automatic expiry based on the activity of the account.

E.g. after 2 months inactivity the account is put on hold (no reminders/messages sent to linked friends), then after say 18 months further inactivity the account is removed.

There would still be a period of shit the relatives and friends would have to go to through with getting messages etc but at least the issue could naturally resolve itself?

Re:Expiry? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228260)

but at least the issue could naturally resolve itself?

As Nature Intended!

Re:Expiry? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228284)

I think you could probably go with something like 4 months inactivity unless set on vacation mode warrants a deletion - and even vacation mode only lasts like 12 months.

I think oGame and Battle.net had something similar for game accounts - except on a much shorter time scale.

Re:Expiry? (1)

KnightBlade (1074408) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228562)

They want your data for an indefinite period of time. What makes you think, something as trivial as death will stop them from trying to sell you ads with your friend's pictures in them?

Account Inactivity? (2, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228148)

Why is it so difficult to just wait X days, and then close the account? You know, like other sites-which-don't-want-to-make-money-off-your-personal-information do ?

Re:Account Inactivity? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228348)

Yeah, but how valuable is dead person info? Perhaps some sort of post-mortem ad system should be developed to capitalize on this underutilized market :P

Re:Account Inactivity? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228538)

Yeah, but how valuable is dead person info?

Just as valuable as live person info, if you don't point out the difference to the company you're selling it to.

If Twitter/Facebook remain intentionally ignorant of who's dead, or even just don't put in the effort to determine who is, that's awfully easy.

DJ AM (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228156)

http://twitter.com/dj_am

I am waiting for... (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228168)

...the first post-death tweet. Who ya gonna call?

Re:I am waiting for... (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228656)

I hear Lain [imdb.com] knows a lot about this.

This might be a little uncomfortable... (3, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228178)

I was at the Federated Social Web Summit this July, and over drinks, I was discussing this issue with other open source social networking developers. I mentioned that I've had a few friends pass who still have a presence on the social web (livejournal, facebook, myspace), and I really appreciate being able to go back and remember them that way. I also mentioned that their parents have access to their accounts, so people would get especially unnerved when that "online now" icon would show up or when they would pop up in a chat list, because their parents were checking or closing out their account.

I had a little too much to think, so I posited the idea of a system which learns, based on what you've posted, how to post like you after you're gone. Not a full representation, but a way to continue to create an impression of you. Less like Sonny from I, Robot, and more like Mal from Inception. A shadow of a person, based on what people remember. Or, more specifically, what the system remembers. Since conceivably, generations born in 2000 and up will live their whole lives on the social web, systems will have a lot of information with which to recreate a person's personality. When I suggested this, someone asked, "Why would I have to wait until I died to use this?"

I won't be coding this into Appleseed, because for now, it violates the "Don't Be Creepy" rule that sometimes people break when building prediction software. But there's no reason it can't be done, which means at some point, someone will do it.

Michael Chisari
Appleseed - http://opensource.appleseedproject.org/ [appleseedproject.org]

Re:This might be a little uncomfortable... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228566)

This is exactly like Zoe Graystone from Caprica [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This might be a little uncomfortable... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228588)

I suspect that is, more or less, the way we will achieve "immortality" (which would, granted, dissapoint some) - more and more information we leave behind, living its own life so to speak; the process accelerating with advancing augmentation of...us. And at some point a shift, hardly noticed by anybody, which will give raise to some actual continuity.

Not of the same kind of course - why would it be? Most functions of our brains are of low-level/"primal" kind, vast majority of high-level ones routine; and besides, the people who were us died few times already, in a way, with how we are changing and merely perceive ourselves as remembering a lot. I'm not sure if firmly holding to such kind of existence would be even interesting - especially since it probably won't be really the case to such a degree anymore, when close to "shift."

Sounds dangerous (4, Funny)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228204)

I didn't realise using Facebook and Twitter was such a risky endeavour.

How's this an issue? (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228206)

Have a page with a fax number where next of kin can send off a death certificate as well as a fill in a page form specifying the exact account. Higher some minimum wage monkey to log the accounts. Bonus points if you can automate the process.

Reconnecting (0, Redundant)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228230)

The worst part about dead people on Facebook is that if you haven't commented on someone's posts for a while and vice versa, Facebook will periodically urge you to 'reconnect' with them.

"Hey, you and DeadSpouse haven't been talking lately. You should post something on their wall."

Re:Reconnecting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228528)

Sounds like this is one of the "features" they could turn off. That is if they decide not to just completely delete the account.

Perhaps each person would have a "Remind me of dead friends [Yes] [no]" and if they choose yes it would send
"Remember DeadSpouse, go post something on their wall for other who remember too"

1.5 million each day? (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228240)

It almost looks like they just took the number of active FB accounts, supposedly a bit over 500 million...and divided by 365? I don't think there's such level of recycling of population, nvm how FB users aren't in the age groups with mortality even close to average of the population.

And if one day they will become representative - that, sort of, will at the same time resolve the issue. People "dissapear" all the time and societies manage to cope - if only because of how death is typically a process, poeple often tend to vanish from social life some time before actually dying. It will be similar with FB probably / their accounts will be typically long abandoned.

PS. Arghhh, each year (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228328)

OK, time to take a nap. Still, the point of it not being such a big deal stands...didn't people always want to be remembered anyway?

Slashdot and Death (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228316)

So what is Slashdot's policy about death?

Re:Slashdot and Death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228468)

Your karma goes to hell.

Re:Slashdot and Death (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228510)

/.ers dont leave their basement lair and therefore, are to society, dead/dont exist.

Re:Slashdot and Death (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228666)

So what is Slashdot's policy about death?

Pickup is on Thursdays, I believe.

all of the soldiers who cannot get older (1)

buzzn (811479) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228350)

while reminders to follow the accounts of people who have long since passed away continue to arrive

A follow reminder from a dead Twitter user would be just plain creepy.

Good for padding membership numbers (4, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228364)

Dead members can't cancel their accounts. They are very convenient for padding your membership numbers, which makes you look better to the market analysts/investors. The motivation for them to do the honest thing and remove the accounts is that now, finally, someone pointed it out publicly so the charade is blown and the dishonestly is bad PR.

Re:Good for padding membership numbers (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228550)

I'm reasonably certain investors know enough to ask for active users, not total counts.

Screw that (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228390)

You bastards leave my data ghosts in peace.

My daughter died recently (5, Insightful)

losing balance (454187) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228400)

My daughter died 2 months ago in a car accident. Many of her family and friends still post messages to her Facebook page telling her how much we miss her. I'm not sure if it's helping or hindering the grieving process, but at least for me, it's been nice to hear from all the people who loved her. Some share memories while others just say they were thinking about her. There have been links to YouTube videos of sad songs, sappy (but sweet) poetry, and slideshows of her. At least for now, I can't even bring myself to delete her from my contacts in my phone, let alone delete her Facebook profile.

Not a problem (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228440)

I crave immortality.

New last words. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228452)

Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.... also my facebook password is tellaphilltogoforward.

EXPLOIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228456)

I sense a new Dead exploit! :)

Technical Solution to a Social Problem (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228536)

If people would just stop dying, we wouldn't have this problem.

Oh wait, Twitter users? Carry on.

Sh17 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33228592)

to 6e7 some eye [goat.cx]

Orly? (4, Insightful)

Xacid (560407) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228616)

"while reminders to follow the accounts of people who have long since passed away continue to arrive, adding to the pain of grieving friends and relatives"

I had a coworker who died roughly a year ago - and older guy who took me under his wing and taught me quite a bit. After he passed away his wife took over his account and posted pictures of him and both of them together when they were young. I thought it was an amazing celebration of his life and was a neat way for her to interact with people whose lives he had touched as well. For someone to say an account adds to the pain - I'd say that's highly subjective. People all handle death differently - let the individuals decide what's painful and what's not.

Obligatory Xkcd (0, Offtopic)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228620)

http://xkcd.com/686/ [xkcd.com]

I wonder if Facebook/Twitter admins get the urge to follow the Alt-text...

BRING OUT YER DEAD! BRING OUT YER DEAD! (1)

Tragedy4u (690579) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228628)

Just send the wheelbarrow around to clean up the web corpses.

But I'm not dead yet!

Death? Bah. (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228646)

The real question here is what's the broadband situation like inside the Pearly Gates?

"a public obituary that provides proof of death." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228652)

An obituary does not provide proof of death. A death certificate provides proof of death. If they have to have some sort of a link it should be to the relevant entry in the records of the jurisdiction where the death occurred (Yes, your death is a matter of public record. More of your precious privacy gone.)

An easy way to address part of the issue (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228662)

One way they could address about half of the issue would be to allow users to assign a secondary administrator (basically a "power of attorney") that had has the right to delete (not modify) the account after the account goes inactive for so many days. It's morbid, but so are living wills and we deal with those on a daily basis.

Of course, this would do nothing for the younger crowd who tend to die unexpectedly and aren't thinking ahead like this, but it would definitely put a dent in issue with ghost accounts and avoid a lot of the red tape that goes into handling these situations.

Bring out your dead (1)

Maclir (33773) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228688)

I'm not dead.

Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

Bring out yer dead (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228696)

Web Crawler: Bring out yer dead.
[a Robots.txt responds to the request with a packet]
Robots.txt: Here's one.
Web Crawler: That'll be nine bytes.
Dead Person's Webpage: I'm not dead.
Web Crawler: What?
Robots.txt: Nothing. There's your nine bytes.
Dead Person's Webpage: I'm not dead.
Web Crawler: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Robots.txt: Yes he is.
Dead Person's Webpage: I'm not.
Web Crawler: He isn't.
Robots.txt: Well, he will be soon, he's got bitrot.
Dead Person's Webpage: I'm getting better. Look, new content from friends and family.
Robots.txt: No you're not, you'll be stale content in a moment. No more page requests.
Web Crawler: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations. Robots.txt, you should take him off your Disallow list.
Dead Person's Webpage: I don't want to go to the 404.
Robots.txt: Oh, don't be such a baby.
Web Crawler: I can't take him.
Dead Person's Webpage: I feel fine.
Robots.txt: Oh, do me a favor.
Web Crawler: I can't.
Robots.txt: Well, can you 302 temporarily redirect him for a couple of days? He won't be long.
Web Crawler: I promised I'd be at the Facebooks'. They've lost nine today.
Robots.txt: Well, when's your next round?
Web Crawler: 20100821 04:32:55 UTC.
Dead Person's Webpage: I think I'll go for a retweet.
Robots.txt: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
Dead Person's Webpage: Status Update: I feel happy. Status Update: I feel happy.
[Web Crawler spiders up and down the fibre optic pipe furtively, then silences the Webpage with a whack of his delisting]
Robots.txt: Ah, thank you very much.
Web Crawler: Not at all. See you on 20100821 04:32:55 UTC.
Robots.txt: Right.

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