Over 30 Million Accounts on Facebook Belong to Dead People
When someone passes away, what happens to their social media accounts? How does Facebook handle a dead subscriber, and how do other subscribers interact with the dead persons profile? There are 30 million accounts on Facebook of people who have already died, according to story on ReadWriteWeb:
"People are starting to incorporate their digital property and online presence into their wills," saysMichaelanne Dye, who holds an MA in cyberanthropology from Georgia State University. "Although this has not yet become a common trend, I think that one day it will be fairly common for people to make plans for their digital real estate before passing.
A PhD candidate at UC Irvine, Jed Brubaker, studies death and social media and has written about how both service providers such as Facebook and "friends" of the deceased handle death and social media in a research study called Death and the Social Network: The Persistence of Digital Identity.
Facebook has a memorialization process that essentially locks the account of the deceased. Only family members can request the site be taken down, and only family and friends at the time of the reported death are able to continue to comment. No word on how death shows up in your timeline.