A man returned from vacationing with his wife in Cancun to find out that has been proclaimed dead on Facebook.
According to NBC News, Rusty Foster didn’t check his Facebook account while on vacation. When he returned, he discovered that he was dead on Facebook.
When Foster attempted to log on to his Facebook account, he received a pink box that read:
“This account is in a special memorial state. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the Help Center for further information.”
Apparently it is quite easy to falsely memorialize a Facebook account, because a prankster had him declared dead while he was away.
After attempting to get ahold of Facebook directly to get his account resurrected (and failing) Foster wrote a note to Buzzfeed asking for help.
When Buzzfeed received the note, what did they do to help?
BuzzFeed’s reporter Katie Notopoulos followed suit with Foster’s prankster and Facebook murdered her colleague John Herrman.
Notopoulos reported Herrman dead as a way to investigate Foster’s claims.
When NBC News asked Facebook about the reasoning behind the memorial feature, a spokesperson replied with:
“We have designed the memorialization process to be effective for grieving families and friends, while still providing precautions to protect against either erroneous or malicious efforts to memorialize the account of someone who is not deceased. We also provide an appeals process for the rare instances in which accounts are mistakenly reported or inadvertently memorialized.”
According to Gizmodo, in order to submit a “memorialization request” all you have to do is fill out a short form including the target’s name, one of the emails associated with the target’s account, your relationship to the target, and “proof of death.”
Proof? How do you prove it? Facebook will accept something as flimsy as an online obituary of the same name, even if it’s for a person of a different age in a different state, who even spells his name differently.
Once your account is memorialized, the only thing you can do is fill out a form saying that you are in-fact alive and wait for a response.
Memorialization doesn’t delete or destroy anything, but it is quite the hassle for those who are virtually killed on Facebook.