Facebook has changed its policy on dead users. Instead of changing accounts to a special memorial status after a user dies, the company will now preserve their account.
“Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person’s content as-is. This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy. We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see,” wrote Chris Price and Alex DiSclafani, from the Facebook Community Operations team.
Another big change: inspired by a desperate father’s plea for a “Look Back” video for his son, Facebook is now offering the retrospective film clips that it created for each active user on its tenth anniversary for the loved ones of users who have died.
And this may not be the end when it comes to users who have reached the end of their lives. “Changes like this are part of a larger, ongoing effort to help people when they face difficult challenges like bereavement on Facebook. We will have more to share in the coming months,” Price and DiSclafani wrote.
Facebook has swelled from a niche network of college students to a mainstay of communication in the past ten years, and of course, when you have over a billion users, you’re going to eventually deal with over a billion user deaths, so it’s a good sign that the company is making moves to maximize what it can do for bereaved families–there’s going to be a lot of them.