It might be a little disconcerting, to say the least, to log into your Facebook account and find that Facebook thinks you’re dead. That is, unfortunately, exactly what happened to Facebook user Brett Millet, who posted about the problem on question-and-answer site StackExchange.
Evidently someone — and it would have to be one of his Facebook friends — reported him as deceased, using this Facebook form:
While it may seem like a funny prank to some, reporting a Facebook user deceased is actually a fairly horrific thing to do. Imagine the shock of your friends checking you out on Facebook and seeing, to their horror, that you are presumably dead. Or, God forbid, your mother or another close relative.
You would think Facebook would do some level of due diligence before taking such a drastic step, but that allegedly did not happen, at least in Millet’s case:
“Apparently, it’s pretty easy to memorialize someone’s Facebook profile,” he posted. “I am greeted with the following message after entering my valid and correct username and password:”
This account is in a special memorial state. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the Help Center for further information.
As Millet found out from the Stack Exchange discussion thread, Facebook actually has a special page set up for users who find themselves in precisely this situation. It’s here: My Personal Account is in a Special Memorialized State.
The fact that Facebook has a page set up for specifically this purpose indicates that Millet is not alone in his predicament. This situation has happened often enough to require its own page at Facebook. Here, users can prove that they are not, in fact, dead, and regain access to their account.
It’s hard to believe there are no safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. The simplest, of course, would be an email or a text to the affected person, checking for a response. We’ve reached out to Facebook to find out what, if any, such checks are in place and will update if we receive an answer.
Another recommendation in the StackExchange thread was to report a violation of Facebook terms, which enables users who cannot access their accounts to log in again.
VentureBeat is also reaching out to Millet to confirm the details of this story.
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