Last Updated: March 10, 2012 74

What to do If a Facebook Friend Passes On?

Found In: Social Networks

In the past few years, Facebook has become a daily part of life for many people. It allows you to connect with friends you may not have seen in years, and to stay in touch with family across state lines. With Facebook playing such a large role in day to day social interaction, the question naturally arises: what to do if a Facebook friend passes on?

Depending on what kind of connection you shared with the friend in question, there are several actions that you can take. One option, particularly if the departed is a close family member, or someone whose password information you might have known, is to simply log into the account and close it. This both protects your loved one’s privacy, and prevents their close friends from accidentally receiving updates or suggestions featuring your loved one, which might upset them.

A second option, one that has been available from Facebook almost since the website began, is memorialization. The process involves a close friend or family member of the deceased contacting Facebook and requesting that the profile be memorialized. When a Facebook profile is memorialized, it is permanently closed, but still visible to Facebook friends. After this step has been taken, however, the profile cannot be changed, and in some cases the departed’s comments may be erased. Because the profile is officially closed, no one can log into it, so it is protected from any possible profile hacking. This is a nice security measure, but since it comes with the condition of the departed friend’s comments disappearing in such a way that they can not be retrieved, some people may hesitate to take the step of memorializing the account.

Finally, there is the third option of maintaining the Facebook account as an ongoing memorial. This option has become increasingly popular in the past year, especially with younger Facebook users. It involves leaving the profile as it was, not closing it, and adding materials such as photos, prayers or other comments via the loved one’s wall. One basic precaution to follow here would be to log into the profile and change the privacy options so that the profile is visible only to friends. This prevents the profile from possible being hacked or defaced by a stranger. Moreso than with the options described above, when simple security measures have been taken, an ongoing memorial such as this can be an ideal way for friends and family to express their grief, remembrance and love for the Facebook friend who has passed on.