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Facebook Says It’s Working To Honour The Dead On Its Platform


Facebook announced in its Newsroom yesterday that it was using AI to fix a common problem. People pass on, but other people still receive notifications about them- suggestions to invite as friends, to celebrate their birthdays, or ask them to events.

The tech giant says that the platform will create a tab for tributes to someone who has passed on but will leave the timeline as they left it.

This comes after a series of complaints about users complaining when Facebook notifies them to communicate with a deceased.

In 2009, Facebook added a feature that gave users the ability to “memorialise” profiles. The status includes “remembering” to the deceased name and allows friends, and other users to send a condolence message. Facebook says that over 30m people do this monthly. Once a page is memorialised, other users cannot get notifications or suggestions about the profile. It becomes deactivated in that aspect.  The press release read:

Today we are sharing updates to make this experience even more supportive for our community: a new tributes section for memorialised accounts; additional controls for people who manage memorialised accounts; and improved AI to keep the profile of the deceased loved one from appearing in painful ways.”

A feature that allowed people to choose a legacy contact was introduced in 2015. Users have the option to entrust the details of their account to a family member or friend when they pass on. Facebook says it has received feedback about how the legacy contacts wish to do more with the memorialised accounts they manage.

Going forward, Facebook says legacy contacts now can moderate the posts shared to the new tributes section. They can alter the tagging settings, remove tags and edit who can post and view posts, as well as update a profile picture and a cover photo. These will help them manage the page in general and how the content is viewed.  

Minors cannot be legacy contacts, but parents who have lost children under 18 can become their legacy contacts. “We made this change based on feedback we received, and we hope it will provide some assistance to grieving parents,” Facebook said.

Facebook says it will continue to update its site with users’ feedback to improve the community.

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