Facebook adds Tributes section to profiles whose owners have passed

Alfred Osborne
April 12, 2019

According to Facebook, "over 30 million people view memorialized profiles every month to post stories, commemorate milestones, and remember those who have passed away".

AI will be used to prevent memorialised profiles from appearing in places that "might cause distress", including as a recommendation to be invited to an event or as a birthday reminder to friends.

"We hope Facebook remains a place where the memory and spirit of our loved ones can be celebrated and live on", Ms Sandberg added. "This lets people see the types of posts that are most helpful to them as they grieve and remember their loved ones".

The goal of the new system is twofold: it allows memorialized profiles to remain as they were before the user died, and it also provides a central place for people to share and read memories and other posts. Memorialised account managers will get a lot more controls and the help of improved artificial intelligence to prevent the profile of the deceased from showing up in distressing ways such as getting a notification to wish your deceased friend "Happy Birthday". That's why it's so important that those closest to the deceased person can decide when to take that step.

The social media giant has also introduced new tools for memorialised accounts like a new Tribute section and additional controls for survivors overseeing those accounts.

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In addition, Facebook is rolling out a Tributes section that will separate posts made after the person has passed away from those made while they were still alive. Sandberg didn't explain exactly how the new artificial intelligence features will work, but a Facebook spokesperson told NPR the company will look at a variety of signals that might indicate the person is deceased.

Sandberg says that this means that legacy contacts can hide "posts that might be hard for friends and family to see if they're not ready" from these people specifically.

These users will be able to turn off timeline review for tribute posts, for example, or remove posts the deceased person has been tagged in.

When an account has been memorialised, the legacy contact will be able to switch profile and cover photos, post a status update and share a link to a memorial service.

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