Family and friends panic as Facebook presents users as being dead, even when they’re still alive

Load web pages faster. Stay private. Block ads. Get Brave For Free

Convincing Facebook of someone’s death is as easy as a click: just go to the “Memorialization Request” page, conveniently integrated with a link to an obituary so that anybody can have an account “memorialized”.

Convincing it that you are still alive, however – that’s a different story. To resuscitate the account, the “deceased” must complete an extensive process of reinstatement to prove he is still among the living.

Speaking to YC News, April Roberson, a 28-year-old mom from Denver, Colorado, found she was unable to access her account on May 2019 and was stormed with calls and messages of family members and friends thinking something bad happened.

She describes the experience as traumatizing. “My disabled mother who lives two thousand miles away thought I died after she saw my Facebook account memorialized.”

A 34-year-old Carpenter from Ottawa, Nicholas Belanger, was the victim of a cruel prank when someone created a fake obituary for him on and submitted it to Facebook as proof of death to have the account memorialized.

It took him 72 hours to reactivate the account.

Start and monetize your own website:
In 30 minutes or less. Build your part of the internet. Today: Free domain name for Reclaim readers. Learn how.
source: YC News

According to VentureBeat, Facebook improved its memorialization controls in April 2019. Now only friends and family members can submit a request to have an account memorialized, and the requests are processed only if accompanied by an official document such as a death certificate.

However, Jack Norton -owner of Jackass Armory in Morgantown, Pennsylvania – criticized the scarce effectiveness of the improved controls.

His account had been memorialized in June 2019 by cyberstalkers or trolls.

He claims his livelihood was negatively impacted as a result of the prank: potential customers were trying to communicate through his Facebook business page, but he couldn’t respond to them.

“My business lost thousands of dollars because of this stunt. I’m still pissed,” he said.

When contacted, Facebook issued a laconic statement to YC News, reading:

“We have designed the memorialization process to be effective for grieving families and friends, while still providing precautions to protect against either erroneous or malicious efforts to memorialize the account of someone who is not deceased. We also provide an appeals process for the rare instances in which accounts are mistakenly reported or inadvertently memorialized.”

Use The Fastest Browser That Doesn’t Track You

Blocks ads. Blocks tracking. Keeps you and your data private. Free and open source. Up to 8 times faster page loads than Chrome and Safari. Join the Brave revolution today.

Use Brave To Browse The Web Faster, In Private

Filippo Cestaro
Filippo Cestaro is a tech news writer with a strong focus on AI, machine learning, and big data. His interests include AI singularity and transhumanism. He is also a contributor to Scuba Zone Magazine and joined with the University of Milan to publish work on the psychology of scuba diving. [email protected]