Friday, April 13, 2012

Reflections on Memorializing a Facebook Page

Since I chose to memorialize my brother's Facebook page when he was killed last fall a lot of people have asked me about this. I chose to put this on my blog so I could refer others to this post when asked. The information below was sent to a family who lost a child recently and wondered if they should memorialize the page......
Larry "Keith" Allen
Keith and I when we first moved to Iowa:)
On Sept. 11 last year my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. A friend of mine sent me the information on memorializing a Facebook page. I did choose to memorialize his page and I am not sure that was the best decision now that I look back.

Why I chose to memorialize it at the time:
1 - I did not want someone to steal my brother's identity from his Facebook account and create a life for themselves.
2 - His name would no longer show up in searches or in the alerts "people you may know" or "suggestions." I thought some day it might be alarming if his name popped up somehow.
3 - I was worried that inappropriate pictures would be posted to his page. (It has actually been the opposite and we have still loved to see pictures that people are still posting to his page.) But there is still a chance that bad pictures could be posted. None so far.
4 - We do not have his login information and Facebook will not give it to you. We requested his login information and they refused.
5 - My brother suffered from PTSD from a situation that happened when he was a part of in the military and he had some trouble with the police due this condition. I was worried that something or someone he was involved in from the past may show up on Facebook or find him or my family in that way. He was a GREAT guy but all the bad stuff they say about PTSD from the military is true.
6 - As his sister I felt like I had to protect him because Facebook is so unpredictable and you never know what they are going to do with your information. I do not trust Facebook. The company was not started and built on any good character traits. You are welcome to research that if you would like. It has been wonderful resource for terrible situations(Joplin tornado.) All the 3rd party programs that partner with Facebook can pretty much do whatever they want with your information.

Why I wish I didn't do it:
1 - My mother reads his Facebook page ALL THE TIME. It was therapy for her in the beginning. There were beautiful messages and pictures and comments right after he was killed. There are still messages to this day. It is like we can still talk to him. I still write on his wall to this day. Just funny things, or remembering the anniversary of his death, his birthday, writing something funny that reminds me of him. Other people might think it is weird but everyone grieves differently. I am sure there are people out there that do much worse things that me writing on my deceased brother's Facebook wall.
2 - Facebook online and mobile Facebook on your phone are 2 separate things. There have been times that I could not access his page from my mobile phone. I think that is when they make updates etc. Once a page is memorialized you cannot get any of it back. Sometimes the iPhone app is updated and all the info is gone for a few days. Sometimes Facebook makes a change and all the information is gone. I have been meaning to contact Facebook and haven't had the time.
3 - For some reason we can no longer tag pictures or upload pictures to his page. I was never able to upload pictures from my phone once the page was memorialized. Something with the mobile app, not Facebook. I did contact Facebook and they said it had to be the mobile app because everything was still okay when they looked at it.
4 - I probably acted too quickly when I did it. You can always go back and memorialize a Facebook page any time. You have to have proof of death. I sent a link to a newspaper article that reported his accident.
5 - My family had no idea of the positive impact my brother had on other people's lives until we started reading all the memorials and tributes posted on his Facebook page. We learned so much about him and his friends after reading all the comments. We even have new family friends because of the comments on Facebook.


Link to deleting, deactivating, and memorializing a Facebook page: