It only takes a minute for something well intentioned to turn into something sinister. Facebook created 'memorial pages' as way for friends and family to share their thoughts and feelings for those that are no longer with us.
As written in a company blog post, "We created the idea of "memorialized" profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who've passed."
But it looks like Facebook gave us too much credit. Now, while most memorial profiles are legitimate, it is very easy—actually way too easy—to create a fake the death of one of your very alive friends. In order to setup a Memorial Profile, you need to fill out this very brief form, where you must provide the friend's full name, email address, the URL to the timeline, and a link to an obituary confirming that a death actually occurred.
Confirming the death is the only real roadblock against this hack spreading like the plague. But even with asking for a link to an obituary, Facebook still doesn't do a great job of verifying the information. If you have a friend with a common first and last name, you will surely find a recently deceased person and a link to the obituary with a simple Google search. The names do not even have to be an exact match. Some folks from Buzzfeed tested it out themselves.
So, with the information filled out and an obituary link from Google, you are now ready to virtually "kill" your friend. Simply hit send and wait a day or two for Facebook to get back to you. If you they have accepted your memorial request, you will receive a message of condolences and they will inform you that your friend's page is now in a memorial state.
The next time they try to log in, they will be hit with this message.
Ghosts are not allowed on Facebook.
In order for your friend to reactive his or her account, he or she will need to go to the Facebook help page and click on the link "My Personal Account is in a Special Memorialized State." From here, you will need to fill out this form in order for Facebook to reinstate your account.
Apparently, this happens often enough that Facebook has a dedicated form for it.
Now, not only is doing this annoying for your not-dead friend, but it is obviously a little cruel and unusual. But if you are still reading this, I doubt that's really going to stop you from trying it out anyway.
And one last thing... be prepared for whatever backlash may come from Facebook for faking someone's death. Though, I'm sure you could just say that you thought it was your other dead friend, who just happens to not really have a Facebook page. Oops.
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