This is the week Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead, that most colorful of all holidays. And every year about this time I always seem to notice some news article reported on the computer/technical news sites I follow that is at least tangentially related to death and dying. This year will be no exception.
Here is a statistic that will come as a shock to many readers: The management for the popular social networking site Facebook.com acknowledges that its users will not live forever and out of its large user base a number of individuals are going to pass away someday. For Facebook on average that number is about 10,000 people a day! We can extrapolate from this number that every month Facebook loses a quarter-million of its users to death, and it naturally follows that some of the deceased user’s survivors will contact Facebook either wanting access to the deceased’s account or asking what to do with the deceased’s profile. Responding to this, Facebook has an official policy establishing how the company deals with the rights of their ex-users who are no longer among the living.
The following statement may be found on the Facebook.com web site: “When someone leaves us, they don’t leave our memories or our social network. To reflect that reality, we created the idea of “memorialized” profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed.”