A recent post in TechVibes alerted me to a new academic study of Facebook and mourning.
“Two researchers at the University of Toronto—Profeessor Rhonda McEwen and Librarian Kathleen Scheaffer—have completed a study on the methods and consequences of mourning on Facebook.”
According to the TechVibes article, the authors make 3 recommendations:
- Offer “digital estate options” to determine who can control the profile postmortem.
- Lock a dead person’s account, and automatically delete it after 50 years.
- Enable Facebook friends the same access to the page, respecting the privacy filters. Disable direct messaging to prevent shenanigans. Remove the profile from search. Enable loved ones to create memorial pages.
Interestingly, I’ve advocated for years that users need more options to control what happens to their Facebook accounts after death. It’s good to see this coming from other voices too.
The abstract of “Virtual Mourning and Memory Construction on Facebook” is below. Get the full study here.