I was recently reviewing some notices from a social networking website when I saw a familiar name. I clicked on the link and found the site of a good friend. The only problems was that he died several months ago. Here was his social networking site, still being suggested as a contact, receiving notices and chugging away while the owner had passed on to his reward. More than many other recent incidents in my life, this gave me pause to think.
How long will all my social networking sites keep operating after I die? How will my wife and family even begin to guess which of all my online contacts and websites remain active after I die. How does anyone notify Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and the other huge social networking sites that the person is dead?
Apparently this is a very old issue on the Web. Quoting from a Time Magazine article from 2009:
In an Oct. 26 blog post, Max Kelly, Facebook's head of security, announced the company's policy of "memorializing" profiles of users who have died, taking them out of the public search results, sealing them from any future log-in attempts and leaving the wall open for family and friends to pay their respects. Though most media reports claimed this was a new Facebook feature, a spokeswoman for the company told TIME that it's an option the site has had since its early days.But the issue here with my friend is that his surviving wife and children likely are completely unaware of the existence of this particular social networking site. They almost certainly have no idea, even if they did know about the site, how to remove the person from the site or turn it into a "memorial" if that is even possible.
Read more: What Happens to Your Facebook Profile When You Die? - TIME http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1932803,00.html#ixzz2kjEjkzAZ
Here is what the Facebook Help Center has to say about the subject:
Memorializing AccountsYou're reading the Desktop Help answer. Learn more in our other Help Centers.
Unfortunately, the Help Center doesn't outline the process of notifying or even tell how to go about verifying an immediate family member.
Perhaps we should be concerned. Here is the same type of answer from Google+: