Is Facebook Haunted?
(Long Island, N.Y.) This Halloween, the ghosts and goblins may not only be at your door looking for treats – they could be on your social network.
An addition to Facebook’s “Suggestions” feature invites users to “re-connect” with friends by posting on their walls. A nice idea to remind users to contact those they haven’t spoken with in a while… except it’s suggested that several users re-connect with friends and loved ones who have passed on.
Jennifer Jones, 19, of Plainedge was confused and “a little freaked out” when Facebook suggested she write on late classmate Natalie Ciappa’s wall. Jones, who was open to the idea it could be a message from the other side, commented, “If that’s the case, I have no idea why she would be contacting me. We knew each other, but weren’t close friends.”
When she learned it was just a result of Facebook’s new programming, she was relieved. “That makes more sense,” she said.
You Have to “Tell” Facebook
Facebook’s programming has no way of knowing the status of users, unless users tell them. Other ideas in poor taste included suggestions that people “re-connect” with exes, former bosses, or wayward relatives.
The solution? If there’s someone you’d rather not see pop up on the right-hand column of your screen, take them off your friends list.
For family and friends of deceased, Facebook has another answer… and the reasoning behind their decision to include dearly departed in the “reconnect” feature.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Max Kelly commented on the Facebook blog: “We created the idea of “memorialized” profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed… We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized…By memorializing the account of someone who has passed away, people will no longer see that person appear in their Suggestions.”
In addition, Kelly says memorializing an account sets privacy so only confirmed friends can view the profile. Contact information and status updates are removed, and no one can log into the profile in the future. Family and friends can still leave posts on the Wall in remembrance.
What’s Your SM Exit Strategy?
This leads us to another conundrum. It’s not a happy thought, but it’s important to address. What will happen to your social network if something happens to you? The Internet brings us thousands of acquaintances, just a keystroke away. These may not be people who would attend your funeral (or they might) but certainly they would care if something – such as death or illness — happened to you.
Store the following information and documents in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe, to be opened by your significant other or the executrix of your will:
- Usernames and passwords to all your social networks, including forums you frequent;
- Usernames and passwords for your email, including instructions to access your mailing list(s).
- Usernames and logins for any blogs and Web sites you may run, manage or regularly post to. Include contact information for the hosting service, such as GoDaddy, so someone can cancel the services.
- Keep this information where you keep your will, life insurance policies and bank account numbers.
It’s a good idea to have all this information written down, anyway. Many of us store our passwords within our computer. If our system crashes and we need to access the information from another machine, we may have a problem if it’s not written down. It’s important to keep a hard copy of this information. Again, if your computer crashes and you need to check e-mail from another location, that information becomes priceless.