Nothing is more heart-wrenching than to see an email from someone who has died, a message sent by a stranger who has picked up that person’s identity and created a similar email address for themselves.
It usually begins “Hi” and immediately you know you do not want to open it.
The same happens on Facebook. We’re reminded that it’s someone’s birthday. Let them hear from you. The problem? That person passed away many years ago and no one has bothered to take down their page.
If it’s a recent passing, family members may keep the page active as a memorial, to be able to honor the person from time to time by posting a memory. That’s fine. It gives friends a chance to remember them as well.
But it’s not okay to have the person’s face pop up every time you’re in a group, with a request from Facebook for you to invite them to join that group. Surely there’s a way to keep a memory page without all the peripheral nonsense when someone has passed.
Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. Maybe this doesn’t bother anyone else. Maybe I don’t care if the deceased was a casual acquaintance. But I do care every time I see my sister’s face. She was dear to me and it hurts me to be reminded that she’s no longer here.
I’ve already instructed my daughter that when I die she is to remove all of my social media accounts. I refuse to haunt the internet when I’m gone, nor will my smiling face pop up at Facebook parties as a possible invitee.
Facebook and other social media sites have procedures in place to remove accounts.
Nothing much, however, can be done about the U.S. mail.
My mother-in-law passed away in 2011 and to this day we get solicitation requests addressed to her even though she never lived with us and my husband has asked that her name be removed from their mailing list.