With aproximately 140,000 registered deaths in Australia last year and more than half the Australian population (nearly 12 million) signed up to social networking website Facebook, it is safe to say 60,000 of those who died had a Facebook page. But what happens to the deceased person’s profile?
Facebook has a very specific death policy in place whereby it will either memorialise a person’s profile or permanently delete the profile upon request. Memorialising a profile allows friends of that person to view and post on the person’s profile, with the profile no longer indexed in search and the account locked from posting status updates. Permanently deleting the profile will remove any trace of the account and requires a copy of the person’s birth or death certificates or proof of authority to be submitted to Facebook.