An SEO friend told me about an unfortunate situation that he was facing. A close pal of his from a popular social networking site he frequented had recently passed away. The site in question, despite this unfortunate death, sent out reminders for the deaceased individual’s upcoming birthday… a birthday he’d never witness.
Which begs the question: should social networks be responsible for the initial or ongoing validity of their data?
It’s one thing for social networks to ban spamming accounts, but it’s a whole other thing for a network to keep up with the recently deceased.
Facebook gives you the ability to update your name or put a maiden name, but that’s a user controlled update. No social network I know of is pinging people to make sure they are still living. Certainly, your friends and family can post memorials, but who’s to stop the deceased’s social networks? You wouldn’t want an imposter stealing their identity.
Now for the answer: create a tool that updates all social profiles for the deceased to either delete or make their accounts inactive. This will be tricky, and lots of privacy rights will be at stake. Still, as more and more of our lives are recorded online, we should be careful to protect the lives of those that have already passed away.
Do you think this is possible, or even a good idea? Let us know.
- The Battle for Your Social Status: Facebook Builds Network Around Your Activity (socialmediatoday.com)
- The Battle for Your Social Status: Facebook Builds Network Around Your Activity (briansolis.com)