"Why not reconnect?" Well....
April 26, 2010 4:48 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine passed away in February. Is there any way to get Facebook to stop suggesting that I reconnect with him?

Removing him from my friends list is not an option. Is that the only possible solution?
posted by zarq to Computers & Internet (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm pretty sure that if you click the "x" that appears to the right of the suggestion (the one that says "Do not show this suggestion" when you mouse over it) Facebook will not show you that suggestion anymore.
posted by CRM114 at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can request that the account be memorialized which will remove it from being an active account but still allow people to post wall mentions and review their account, but should stop the creepy "reconnect" prompts.
posted by disillusioned at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Might be some relevant info here.
posted by aheckler at 4:53 PM on April 26, 2010


Facebook will memorialize deceased users' profiles to keep this from happening. They have a form to let them know.
posted by zsazsa at 4:53 PM on April 26, 2010




A couple years ago, when Facebook was much smaller, I sent an email to their site feedback address requesting that a person who died (a friend of many of my friends, I did not know her personally) have her profile closed, since her wall was turning into a mess between people who loved her and people who were leaving rude comments about the incidents surrounding her death. I sent links to various articles about her accident in the email. The account was taken down within a couple of days.

Now that Facebook is so huge, I don't know if something like that would ever get seen, let alone dealt with.
posted by phunniemee at 4:55 PM on April 26, 2010


Nevermind. Glad they have a system for this now.
posted by phunniemee at 4:56 PM on April 26, 2010


the form will eventually stop it - but it took a few weeks after my friend sent it in for her wife. it also seemed like right after the request was made until it seemed to take effect, that the "reconnect" stuff was far more often. even memorialized, they'll still show up on "this person shares these friends with you" section.

i'm sorry for your loss.
posted by nadawi at 5:04 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Facebook will memorialize deceased users' profiles to keep this from happening.

No, that is not what happens.

I have a Facebook friend who shows up as "Bill Smith Memorial Page," and he often appears in the right-hand side of my Facebook homepage. This has been happening regularly, for several months (not "weeks").

Incidentally, another statement in the post that aheckler links to -- "We try to protect the deceased's privacy by removing sensitive information such as contact information and status updates" -- is not true. I can read status updates that "Bill" posted, and I can see his email address in the "info" section of his profile.

Again, statements made by Facebook and in this thread about the Memorial Pages are not accurate, and memorializing a Facebook profile does not stop it from showing up in the suggestions for many months.

You could try clicking the "x," although I don't know if that really prevents someone from ever showing up in suggestions again.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:56 PM on April 26, 2010


If you're using Firefox or Chrome, there are scripts and extensions that can remove the suggestions box entirely.
posted by rockstar at 6:19 PM on April 26, 2010


can't you just "block" that user?
posted by HuronBob at 6:24 PM on April 26, 2010


Huron, that would work but he doesn't want to remove the friend.
posted by applemeat at 6:34 PM on April 26, 2010


HuronBob, there are photos and videos of him which he uploaded that I don't want to lose access to. Plus his friends are commenting in Wall posts, and it's nice to be able to read them once in a while. Hard, but nice.
posted by zarq at 6:37 PM on April 26, 2010


jalcoth - is it just called "memorial page" or have the people who control the page requested that facebook put the page in memorial status?
posted by nadawi at 6:44 PM on April 26, 2010


I don't know -- what's the difference between a memorial page and a page with memorial status?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2010


if someone, a friend or relative set up a fan page or something (or took his facebook profile and changed the name to bill smith memorial page), then it operates just like a normal facebook page with the sidebar activity and updates and all that.

if someone sends the form linked to facebook and says "hey, this person has passed away, could you change it to memorial status", then facebook does some backend stuff to remove some of the visibility.

just changing the name or having "memorial" in the name of the page wouldn't automatically trigger the changes.

i can totally understand your frustration - it was hurtful to see my friend on the sidebar, asking me to reconnect with her. i wonder if even though you don't control the page, if you can send in the request...
posted by nadawi at 7:40 PM on April 26, 2010


Well, all I know is that someone got control of his profile after he died and changed his name to "[first name] [last name] Memorial Page." (It's not a separate fan page -- as I said, it has all his old status updates, etc.) It had never occurred to me that this could have happened without using the memorialization feature. I don't know how else people other than him would have been able to edit his account.

And yes, it is frustrating to read assurances by Facebook about how they're being so sensitive by doing X, Y, and Z, when there's every appearance that X, Y, and Z are not actually happening. Has anyone fact-checked this, or is everyone just assuming that whatever Facebook says is true?
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:13 PM on April 26, 2010


Jaltcoh, what you're describing is not Facebook's fault. If you want them to memorialize a page, you have to fill out the form.

A former co-worker of mine, who I am/was friends with on FB, died, and even though we weren't close, I took the initiative and filled out the form. It asks you to link to an obituary if possible, gives you a space to provide additional details, and so on. So I found some mentions of his death online and linked to them on the form, and then in the extra space, I wrote a whole paragraph pointing out other places to look to tell that he's obviously dead.

Within a couple of days, his profile had changed to memorial status. He still shows up as a friend, and you can write on his wall, but that's it. Never once have I received any notice about him or any suggestion that we get back in touch.

The memorialization feature works.
posted by bingo at 8:39 PM on April 26, 2010


I should add, actually, that when you use the memorialization feature, it does NOT change the dead person's page to "X's Memorial Page." All that happens is a sublte change in the layout. I cannot, for example, suggest friends for him. But if you didn't know he was dead, and you didn't bother reading all the "I miss you" messages on his wall, and you didn't think very hard about the way your other friends' FB pages look, then you might not actually be able to tell the difference at a glance.
posted by bingo at 8:44 PM on April 26, 2010


yeah, jalcoth - someone had his password or he was logged in at a friend's house or something. i know the changes facebook talks about making actually do happen once you request them to do it - just that it isn't immediate. what you're describing sounds like the request was never made.
posted by nadawi at 8:57 PM on April 26, 2010


http://www.fbpurity.com/

As rockstar mentions, FBPurity is a way to avoid memorializing the page; it gives you control over what you see on your facebook page. I installed it for exactly the same reason -- dead friends -- and I am no longer goaded into interacting with their electric specters by facebook.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:26 PM on April 26, 2010


Another possibility is going to the bottom of your news feed and selecting "Edit Options" on the bottom right (before it loads up older posts, or else you'll have to chase it down at the bottom of the page again).

From here, it shows you a list of friends you "hide" and that you see more updates from. You can add his name to "Hide" and it should stop asking you to reconnect with him; I have a bunch of people in this list and I don't believe that I have ever been asked to reconnect with any of them. That will still leave you access to his page when and if you should choose to see it, just by going to your list of friends or by searching for him in the box at the top of the page.
posted by urbanlenny at 7:03 AM on April 27, 2010


Never once have I received any notice about him or any suggestion that we get back in touch.

I still haven't seen any convincing evidence that Facebook actually provides the service it claims to provide. Just because you haven't noticed the suggestion showing up doesn't mean it's been disabled from ever showing up. I have noticed the suggestion showing up, so I'm inclined to believe my own first-hand experience over the assertion that it doesn't happen.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:15 AM on April 27, 2010


Or that the page never actually got marked as 'memorialized' by Facebook, either because they weren't convinced by whoever filled out the form, or nobody filled out the form. They don't magically know when someone is deceased.
posted by zsazsa at 9:58 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jaltcoh - i went and looked at my friend's page and the info tab was gone as well as the other things facebook says they'll change. your friend's page has never been "memorialized" by facebook. fill out the form.
posted by nadawi at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2010


Lots of exceptional suggestions in this thread. I'm grateful. Thank you.

I'm getting in touch with his parents to see if they would like to turn his page into a memorial. There is a possibility that they may not want to do so, and I'd rather not initiate that process on Facebook if there is a possibility that might go against their wishes.

They have also created a memorial group and it seems as if they're in the process of migrating content over to it.

I'll update when I know more, or have experience with the memorialization process. But again, thank you all. Such a small thing, but I was finding it upsetting.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on April 27, 2010


And nadawi, thank you. Both for your condolences and explanations.
posted by zarq at 11:19 AM on April 27, 2010


your friend's page has never been "memorialized" by facebook. fill out the form.

Now that I think of it, I don't know that "memorializing" profiles is a good idea. Deleting everything in the "info" section and all status updates just seems weird -- why delete things he wrote? After someone dies is exactly when you should be saving things they wrote.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:33 AM on April 27, 2010


Now that I think of it, I don't know that "memorializing" profiles is a good idea. Deleting everything in the "info" section and all status updates just seems weird -- why delete things he wrote? After someone dies is exactly when you should be saving things they wrote.

Hypothetical for you: Someone comes to my friend's info page. Sees his cell phone number and email address. Decides he wants to get in touch with him. Sends an email. Leaves a message. Or, if some time has elapsed, gets someone else at the same phone number. I can see why that might be an upsetting way to discover that someone you know has passed away.

Also, my friend used an app that automatically posted his horoscope to his news feed. His family must have turned it off after two or three weeks. But I have to say, I found it rather disturbing to see a blithe prediction of how my friend's day was going to go on the same day as his memorial.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on April 27, 2010


Yes, I can see why that would be desirable, but it's unfortunate if memorializing also requires deleting other things in his profile (which might actually be very meaningful and comforting in retrospect) just for the sake of deleting old contact information. I'm not saying no one should ever use this procedure; I'm saying that's actually a serious downside to consider. (Frankly, it seems much more important than whether you occasionally see the thumbnail profile on the right side of your screen.) If someone close to me died, I would certainly be scouring their Facebook/Twitter/blog/whatever to try to find out what the last things they ever wrote were, and I'd be crushed if I found out they had been automatically deleted precisely because of the death. People write a lot of personal and touching things in their Facebook status updates.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:28 PM on April 27, 2010


If someone close to me died, I would certainly be scouring their Facebook/Twitter/blog/whatever to try to find out what the last things they ever wrote were, and I'd be crushed if I found out they had been automatically deleted precisely because of the death. People write a lot of personal and touching things in their Facebook status updates.

Very true. I still do that.

(Frankly, it seems much more important than whether you occasionally see the thumbnail profile on the right side of your screen.)

I suppose that depends on your point of view.

I choose to go to my friend's page every once in a while, when I'm in the mood. He was a reporter, and a prolific writer, so I can also read and re-read his published material and his blog. I'm still really stunned that he's gone. He was young, around my age and his death was sudden and completely unexpected.

No, seeing his face pop up in a sidebar isn't the worst thing in the world. There are worse things in life. But I do get upset when I see him there, especially since his picture is coupled with a suggestion from Facebook that I reconnect with him. I can't ever do that again. It seems foolish to anthropomorphize a website, but the suggestion feels cruel, you know?
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on April 27, 2010


And yes, I agree that it's a serious downside. I think it would be a lot better if they gave families of the deceased the ability to choose what to hide/delete.
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on April 27, 2010


For whatever it's worth, clicking the 'x' on the suggestions on the right sidebar does not permanently stop those profiles from being suggested. It just makes them go away for a little while. I know this because there are a few people that Facebook resolutely, despite all evidence to the contrary, and consistently for a period over 1 year despite constant 'x' clicking, thinks I should be friends with.
posted by bunnycup at 1:43 PM on April 27, 2010


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