Facebook and the new digital immortality

So Facebook today tells me that it’s the birthday of Andrew Ian Dodge. And that I should “Wish him well!”.

Which I most certainly do of course, whichever sphere of the afterlife he is inhabiting, for he died in August last year.

Oddly, one of the directors of Facebook sometimes reads this blog. Wonder what the solution to this sort of problem is?

21 thoughts on “Facebook and the new digital immortality”

  1. A friend has a cheery message from Facebook yesterday suggesting he might like to revisit his memories from 2015. The year his young son died after a prolonged and difficult illness.

  2. A relative was murdered a few years ago. Facebook suggested quite soon afterwards that I should add him as a friend, sadly it was not possible anymore.

  3. Facebook have an option to switch a Facebook page to a memorial page when someone dies. The problem is they don’t do it unless told. Business idea: Facebook and other after-death online cleanup service funded by an assignment of the refund of unexpired TV licenses and internet subscriptions.

  4. I remember years and years ago somebody wrote an “internet dead man’s handle” program that would announce your death if you didn’t log in for a set period of time.

    Mind you that was back in the days when the internet proper was dominated by competent nerds, and the numpties who have FaceBook accounts these days were still blundering harmlessly around on AOL.

  5. Why do you still have dead people as Facebook friends? I know its a bit surreal and morbid, when I had a PDA I used to keep a birthday reminder for close friend who died for several years afterwards.

    I don’t think Facebook has the answer, certainly not one that can’t be abused in some way. Better for us to leave passwords to a relative or close associate in such events, you only need the email account anyway, once you’ve got that then everything else can be unlocked.

  6. you only need the email account anyway, once you’ve got that then everything else can be unlocked.

    Not if you’re using 2-factor authentication. And you should be.

  7. Along with my will my solicitor has a system boot disk for my server that puts it into super user mode so all my passwords/etc can be found.

  8. I’ve set mine up so that if I do n’t log in for 6 months, all my emails, files etc are sent to my wife (along with a message that I have written).

    Jeez, I would have thought a lot of blokes would want everything specifically kept *away* from the wife, preferably destroyed.

  9. Dear Tim,
    There is a simple solution. Facebook has to daily check for all reported deaths and compare the list with the one of those whose birthdays/friends it records. There are only about 7 billion people in the world so it’s hardly an insurmountable problem. It’s not all that difficult to separate out John Smith of 1 Front Street from John Smith of 2 Back Street.
    What’s that you say? It would bankrupt Facebook? Well, maybe they should have thought of that.

  10. Talking of immortality, the Long Barrow mentioned here previously is open on 20/12:

    “The Long Barrow will be open for anyone to visit the inside on Sunday 20th December from dawn to 10 am.

    We hope the midwinter sun will rise and shine down the passageway for all to see on that day.

    I look forward to seeing you there. Sensible footwear, outer clothing and a torch are recommended.”

  11. Actually remembering the birthday of someone who has died can be useful as its a hard day for spouse/parent/child/etc so you may want to reach out to them, certainly I have a few dates where I get in touch with certain people, they aren’t all just related to birthdays, funnily enough one such date was yesterday and is part of some of my families tradition of putting up their decorations on that day.

  12. Tim N-

    I understand that in poor, repressed America it is quite common to have a Porn Buddy who, in the event of your death, will wipe your PC etc before your parents get to see the contents.

  13. I have whole disk encryption with a strong password on my Mac. My Linux boxes are of no interest to anyone as all they have on them is code which is replicated across multiple git working copies. I could stipulate that in the event of my death my executor has to run DBAN on them but there’d be little point.

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