Do You Unfriend Someone on Facebook After They Die?

BlogHer Original Post

Grave in forest

I've told TW that it's perfectly fine for her to use BlogHer Chatter, Twitter and Facebook to notify friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances about my death -- once she makes a couple of phone calls and text messages. We've talked a lot about what should happen to our blogs after we die. We somehow neglected to think really hard about what to do with Facebook after we die. Even though Paula included Facebook in her great post, Managing Your Social Media Afterlife.

I don't particularly care what happens to my Facebook or Twitter accounts after I die, BUT I really don't want my Facebook friends receiving the messages suggesting they contact me -- or help me find friends. Which is exactly what's been happening to TW... one of her co-workers passed away and, fairly regularly, Facebook posts these kinds of action items. It's an uncomfortable feeling. But she says it feels wrong to unfriend someone who has recently died. So she's just kind of stuck.

My mom and my 20 year old daughter were visiting me last week, so I asked what to do about their Facebook accounts if they die. Can I go into their accounts and send everyone a message and then unfriend everyone? Should I try to convince Facebook to shut down their accounts? Or do they want people to receive these "Help Michelle find friends," or "Send Georgeanne a message," reminders until their friends and family members get fed up and block them or unfriend them?

Thinking about what to do with our own online content is important but it feels just as important to think about how those automatic action messages will affect those we leave behind.

Do you unfriend someone who has passed away? Or do you just deal with those automated Facebook messages when you get them? How would you like your Facebook presence to be handled once you've died?

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