Talking tech since 2003

An online memorial for the deceased — that’s what Facebook could become now that the company has changed a policy for “memorialized” profiles. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook will now honor the privacy settings of deceased users, allowing public posts, photos and profile sections to remain public, even after a family member or a friend places the profile in a “memorialized” state.

Previously, Facebook had locked down the profiles of users who’d passed on, displaying content only to friends of those users.

fblogoThere are mixed reactions to this change in Facebook’s policy; some users claim that Facebook is trying to monetize the deceased, while others applaud the social network for keeping preferred privacy settings in place.

I can see the point of view as far as family members are concerned; not everyone portrays their best self on Facebook, and family might want their loved one to be remembered in a different way.

On the other hand, though, allowing content on profiles to stay public could aid the grieving process for those in the community, or those who were friends at one point but lost touch.

There are likely some compelling arguments for this policy and against it, but it’ll take time to see if the change has positive or negative effects on the site. As I said, the reactions to it have been somewhat mixed; there’s no overwhelming majority in either direction, and there’s certainly not a user uprising or any kind of backlash at this point.

It does create an interesting dilemma for current users, whose privacy settings will hold up as long as Facebook is alive — whether they are or not. It should cause us all to look at our Facebook profiles and ask ourselves: is this something I’d want the whole world studying when I inevitably check out? If not, it might be time to do a little cleanup. Or time to lock our profiles down.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this change. Are you okay with Facebook’s new approach, which would basically keep your privacy settings intact should you pass away? Or would you rather have Facebook show your profile to friends and family only? Drop us a line below.

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