Facebook Memorial Page
by Jo Shaer, on March 20, 2013
I met a lady who had recently become a widow at a very young age and we got to talking about a Facebook Memorial Page for her husband.
She told me that, because she had her husband's login details, she was able to put a notice about his funeral onto his Facebook page. Within a few days, her access via that log in had been suspended which she found very distressing as it meant that only people who were already his friends could see the notice or add any of their own memories or sentiments. She had had to set up a separate group to be able to celebrate his life.
What Is A Facebook Memorial Page
A Facebook Memorial Page is where the deceased's personal profile is deactivated by Facebook for privacy reasons so that no one can log in and no new friends can be accepted.
If the previously established privacy settings of the deceased allow it, friends can share memories on the memorialised timeline but anyone can send private messages to the deceased person.
Whilst photos and posts cannot be seen, any items that the deceased had previously shared will still be visible to the audience it was originally shared with - public, friends, lists, etc., which means that, in most cases, only their existing friends can read what is left or leave their own comments. It has been memorialized - or memorialised if you're British. From then on, no one will be able to log into the account and it will not appear in any 'Friends You May Know' lists.
This can be incredibly upsetting for surviving family members and one mother complained to the media: 'I was angry and devastated as although people can post on the Wall, I can’t read any of her old conversations or remove any spam. It means her page looks like an uncared for grave with weeds growing on it.'
How do I tell Facebook that an account needs to be memorialized?
Verified immediate family members should use this form to request the memorialization of a deceased person's account. In order to counter those individuals who might think it a good idea to memorialise a live person's account - for whatever reason - Facebook stress that, under penalty of perjury, this form is solely for reporting a deceased person's timeline to be memorialized.
Sadly, at the time of writing there does seem to be a bug in this form which has merged it with the form for reporting problem content so there is a section of the form which, hopefully, can be ignored.
You will need to provide the full name of the deceased and the email addresses that are listed on the account, along with your relationship to the deceased person and some form of proof of death like a link to an obituary or news article.
Then check the requested action to memorialize account.
I don't want a Facebook Memorial Page, I want the account to be suspended
Some parents complained that it was like rubbing salt into the wound to see the page still there. Prior to putting up any announcement about funerals which may trigger Facebook filters to automatically memorialise the account, if a close family member has the log in details, they should go in and deactivate or delete the account.
Reports that I read say that Facebook do honour requests from close family members to deactivate the account, which removes the profile and associated information from the site but to remove a page completely, Facebook's site says a person needs either a birth certificate of the person who died or proof a person is the executor of the deceased's estate.