Facebook Memorializes Dead With New Reconnect Feature4:34 PM EST Tue. Oct. 27, 2009
Facebook is giving users a way to stay in touch with the dearly departed with its Facebook Reconnect service, which is now touted as a way to memorialize the deceased.
In addition to its recently implemented News Feed and Live Feed formats on its homepage, the social networking giant released a Reconnect tool, which offers a service designed to "reconnect" members with old friends and contacts if they haven't communicated in a while.
The Reconnect feature is an extension of the site's Suggestion service, which appears on the right hand side of the page, reminding users to get in touch with contacts possibly needing help on Facebook.
However, there still might be some bugs that have to be ironed out in Facebook's "Reconnect." The new tool took reconnecting to a whole new level when it offered users a way to stay in touch with exes, current spouses and deceased Facebook contacts with existing profile pages.
Meanwhile, Facebook maintains that the option to use Reconnect to stay in touch with dead people was deliberate. The social networking giant maintained in a company blog post that members could use the Reconnect feature to memorialize loved ones whose profiles remained intact by posting remembrances on their Wall.
"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," said Max Kelly, Facebook chief security officer.
Kelly used a personal example of a good friend who was killed in a bicycle accident to illustrate the necessity for memorializing user's profiles on Facebook.
"As time passes, the sting of losing someone you care about also fades but it never goes away. I still visit my friend's memorialized profile to remember the good times we had and share them with our mutual friends," he said.
Kelly said that the profiles of the deceased no longer appear in the Suggestions box once family members decide to memorialize their profile, and also mentioned that the site would remove sensitive information, and prevents users from logging into it in the future, while enabling family and friends to post on the user's Wall in remembrance.
The blog post elicited numerous comments, some critical, others in praise, of Facebook's effort to reconnect family and friends with their deceased loved ones.
However, one Facebook user asked an obvious question. "There are 540 comments so far—I've not read all of them to see if it has been asked yet, but I don't understand why everyone isn't asking this," said Don Orkoskey. "What if the person isn't really dead? What if a friend (or non-friend) is playing a sick joke?"