Facebook to launch memorial profiles of deceased users

Facebook is to give people the option to “memorialise” the profile pages of friends and relatives who have died.

The site invited family members to report when one of its users had died, to enable it to remove sensitive information such as updates and contacts.

It has received complaints from users who have received reminders about dead friends or relatives through its “suggestions” feature, which is intended to help users find other people they might know.

“We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialised,” wrote Max Kelly, Facebook’s head of security.

The site will require proof of death, in the form of an obituary or newspaper cutting. Once the profile has been transformed into a tribute page, only confirmed friends will be able to find and see it. The site will also prevent anyone from logging into the page, but will let friends and family leave remembrance posts on the message wall.

The idea for memorialising users profile pages came after Kelly’s best friend, a fellow Facebook employee, died in a motorbike accident.

“As time passes, the sting of losing someone you care about also fades but it never goes away,” Kelly wrote.

“I still visit my friend’s memorialised profile to remember the good times we had and share them with our mutual friends.”

Separately, Facebook has again fallen victim to internet crime. The internet security firm Websense said thousands of malicious fake messages had been sent out, purporting to come from Facebook Support. The message invites users to download a new password, but carries a piece of software that could allow their machine to be invaded by hackers. – guardian.co.uk

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