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Virtual Memorials Offer a More Human Touch than Facebook Dedication Pages


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Apr 21, 2015

It’s difficult to find a sector of online life today where Facebook hasn’t made an impact. In fact, Facebook has become so ubiquitous that many people are using the pages of lost loved ones as dedication pages. It makes sense, in a way—people who were friends with the person to interact with them in life can now visit the page to memorialize them now that they are gone. At some point, Facebook caught wind of the trend and made an official policy to create a dedication page by allowing friends to “freeze” an account and make it a permanent memorial page. But is Facebook really the best option when it comes to memorializing people online?

               There are many hoops to jump through to create a memorialized account on Facebook for someone who has passed away. Users can dictate what Facebook does with their page prior to their own death, but not everyone knows about these features. Even if they do decide to have their page converted into a memorialized page after they die, the privacy settings are frozen in place. So if this person was a particularly private individual, many people may not be able to access the page. It’s also impossible to log into a memorialized page to change anything. This means that all of the owner’s posts will remain how they were and may be visible to the public if their privacy settings were loose. Depending on what the individual posted on his or her timeline, it might be appropriate for a memorial page, or it might not be.

It’s understandable that Facebook would want to protect the privacy of the deceased. However, this makes the platform less than perfect for online memorializing. Other virtual memorials put the control in the hands of those planning other traditional services, such as the viewing and the funeral. For example, Mourner’s Lane specifically allows people who sign up for free membership to customize and alternate their dedication and memorial pages. This means that anybody who wants to view the page is able to without a Facebook account. The virtual memorial can then be curated with photos and memories to the standards of the remaining family members, just like any other memorial service would go.

With a virtual memorial, you can be sure that the terms of access will never change and you will always be able to comment upon and share your loved one’s memories years down the road. Facebook seems to change their privacy guidelines on a whim—who knows what they will do with their memorialized pages years from now? With a virtual memorial you can be sure that anybody with the link can access the page, including youngsters who were too young to have a Facebook account when the person passed away, but now want to visit the page with a parent or grandparent. Finally, new members of the family can see a virtual memorial, whereas with a frozen Facebook profile, access to the page is limited to those who were friends with the person at the time it was frozen.