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Lost legacies -- Are Facebook's death policies dissing the dead?

By Marnomancer
Feb 23, 2012
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  1. When people of this generation move on to the next realm, they often, along with other legacies, leave a Facebook or other social networking account in their wake. When a relative of such a deceased person fill a particular form, FB changes the deceased's status to "Resting in peace". But, the relatives are still denied access to this data, preventing them from deleting it or viewing friends messages. Aren't these policies unfair? Some other websites don't even want to think that such an entity as death even exists.

    Don't the owners realize that these policies may actually be causing emotional and psychological suffering to the deceased's partner, spouse, parents, children, family, etc.?

    What are your opinions on these policies?
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,078   +84 Staff Member

    Why should Facebook be burdened with vetting and executing those requests? How many Facebook users are there again? How many of them die in a year? Seems like a daunting task.

    Not to mention that the company is already recognized for having crappy privacy policies. What happens when someone tricks the company into divulging the account details of a living person?

    If someone does die, who says they would've wanted their account information released? What gives my friends or family the right to snoop through my accounts just because I'm dead?
     
  3. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 808   +51

    Right you are, but they aren't deleting it either. That information could me misused. Moreover, that violates the rule newly adopted that any information requested to be deleted HAS to be deleted. Why just keep that information in the first place? I'm not saying that my wife should be allowed to snoop around in my account when I'm dead, but it's ethically wrong to keep that info in backup servers. It's like belongings being returned from the barracks to a martyred marine's family. Not the messages and all, but the pictures in the very least could be either handed over or deleted.

    And picture reminds me that I recently read that "Under ACTA, uploading a picture of Michael Jackson could get you jailed for 4 years- that's a year more than the doctor who killed him."

    Funny world we live in, don't you think?
     
  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,078   +84 Staff Member

    Funny world indeed. The thing is, you don't own a Facebook account. It isn't your property. Comparing it to a deceased soldier's physical possessions isn't a valid argument.

    You can't request information to be deleted if you're dead and again, deleting accounts without adequate vetting is a recipe for disaster (not to mention a burden on Facebook).

    Mistakes would happen and worse still, it would be misused to cause others grief. Personally, I think your desired policy raises more concerns over ethics than the alternative.
     
  5. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 808   +51

    Hmm..I hadn't thought of that. Yet, it's not a policy I desire bro, I just voiced something I felt. Maybe felt wrong. Maybe I made a mistake.
    Anyway, this conversation is heading nowhere fast. There are more valid pressing issues to be discussed, right?
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,078   +84 Staff Member

    Haha heading nowhere fast? I thought we were having a nice chat. I'm just sharing my thoughts too. I don't necessarily think Web companies should or shouldn't delete the accounts of dead people, I'm just providing some counter arguments to think about. It's also worth noting that assuming companies purge inactive accounts after an extended duration, a deceased person's account would eventually be removed anyway. I don't know if that's the case with Facebook, though.
     
  7. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 808   +51

    Great. Because I thought I was annoying you. It's really addictive talking to people like you. Maybe that's because of my eternally knowledge-hungry mind.
    But no, that's not the case with Facebook. Maybe they can allow the users to configure their post-mortem fate beforehand. Haha. Like this maybe:
    www.stayalive.com
     


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