Facebook: Say Hi to Your Dead Friend

By now you’re probably seen Facebook’s new reconnect feature, which urges you to get back in touch with someone you haven’t interacted with in a while. I mostly agree with Stan Schroeder’s take on it. It’s a smart move, because it gives inactive members real incentive to check their accounts again, as opposed to a MySpace-style e-mail message that says, “Hey, you should come back, we have spam for you.”

But here’s the glitch: A lot of Facebook members are inactive because they are dead. So now people are apparently waking up to pictures of, say, their deceased college roommate under the message “Reconnect with Kevin!” Ouch.

I’ve written about death and Facebook before, because I am fun at parties. As of now, Facebook has more than 300 million members. From what I know of biology, that means Facebook will one day have at least 300 million profiles of dead people. The site has policies about what to do with such profiles, but they all rely on someone notifying Facebook of the death. I personally don’t think this is going to cut it in the long run. If Facebook really wants to be a central part of our lives, it should dedicate more resources to dealing with our deaths.

Here’s a picture of a kitten wearing a hat.







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