Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Facebook 'memorialises' profiles

Privacy page on Facebook
Privacy settings of memorialised profiles will be changed

Facebook has announced that it will be giving friends and family the option to "memorialise" the profiles of members who have died.

It follows some cases of members receiving updates about dead friends.

If a user is reported as deceased, Facebook will remove sensitive information such as status updates and contacts.

When reporting a death, users must offer "proof" by submitting either an obituary or news article.

"When someone leaves us, they don't leave our memories or our social network," Max Kelly, head of security at the firm, wrote in the official Facebook blog.

"To reflect that reality, we created the idea of "memorialised" profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who've passed."

Memorialised accounts will have new privacy settings so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search.

Contact information and status updates will be removed and the person will no longer appear in the newly-introduced Suggestions panel which, according to its blog it is designed "to remind people to take actions with friends who need help on Facebook".

But there have been some some cases where people were 'reminded' about dead friends or relatives.

"We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it's important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialised," Mr Kelly wrote in his blog.

In separate news, Facebook has once again been targeted by cybercriminals.

Security firm Websense has reported thousands of fake messages, purporting to come from Facebook Support, with a malicious payload.

The fake message invites users to download a new password as part of ongoing security messages.

If users click on it it will download a piece of software which could allow their machine to be taken over by malicious hackers.

In one day, Websense has seen 90,000 such messages.

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