Facebook to stop reminding people of dead friends' birthdays

Ruben Fields
April 12, 2019

Facebook is also tightening its rules around who can memorialize an account.

Facebook also improved its artificial intelligence systems to prevent the memorialized profiles from making awkward appearances.

Lastly, Facebook says that it has made additional improvements to its AI algorithms to prevent memorialized accounts from appearing in inappropriate places, like recommendations for event invitations or on the automatically generated list of birthday reminders. They know the loss of a friend or family member can be devastating - and they want Facebook to be a place where people can support each other while honouring the memory of their loved ones. "This lets people see the types of posts that are most helpful to them as they grieve and remember their loved ones".

"These changes are the result of feedback we heard from people of different religions and cultural backgrounds as well as experts and academics", Ms Sandberg said.

Facebook has announced some new changes to the way it's handling the memorialized profiles of people who have died by adding a new tributes section to those pages. A new section called "Tributes" will be available where friends and family will be able to post their messages about the person they lost.

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Memorialized profiles are created after Facebook has been notified of a user's death, and can be managed afterward by a pre-determined person. That's why it's so important that those closest to the deceased person can decide when to take that step.

According to Facebook, over 30 million people visit memorialised accounts every month to reminisce about the person or post milestones or stories of their lives. "We're working to get better and faster at this", Sandberg said.

This section will not replace the account's Timeline; Instead, a second, separate tab will be introduced.

Legacy contacts must be designated by the Facebook user before their death.

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. Legacy contacts have now been given the rights to moderate the posts shared to the new Tributes section by changing tagging settings or removing tags.

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