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Friday, November 23, 2012

Strategic CSR - Facebook

The article in the url below is interesting because it raises the issue of human death and virtual life:

As the dividing line between our online and offline lives continues to fade, more and more of what happens in the ‘real’ world is also seeping into the online world—and that includes death. So how should we deal with it when our friends or loved ones die?

The author raises this issue because he recently attended a friend’s funeral and live-tweeted about it during the ceremony. Some of his friends felt this was inappropriate. Another quandary arose when he continued to receive Facebook updates from his deceased friend (his friend’s family had memorialized his Facebook page and continued to send messages to it) and struggled with the decision of whether to delete his friend from his ‘friends’ list’:

But then I thought about how difficult it had been deleting another friend’s contact information from my cell phone after he died (this was before Facebook became popular) and how it felt as if I were deliberately forgetting about that person, which didn’t feel right. It occurred to me that we often keep photos of loved ones in our wallets or in picture frames on our mantelpieces, as a way of remembering them after they are gone. … So why does it feel so different when we see that person’s avatar pop up in our Facebook feed or a chat window? Perhaps because social media is inherently about communication—and in most cases real-time communication—and that person can no longer be communicated with.

And these emotional issues pale into comparison with the web of legal conflicts that can arise concerning ownership of a digital profile:

And Facebook is just one part of the equation when it comes to handling a person’s social media after they die. What about their Twitter account, or their Tumblr account, or even their e-mail? … There are also issues around who owns a user’s social content after he or she dies: Does Facebook own that person’s page and status updates and photos, and if so, what duty do they have to provide it to family members? What about iTunes?


… perhaps it is too much to ask that our virtual worlds be any more comfortable around death than our offline ones are.

Have a good weekend (and Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S.).

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Death and Facebook: Blurring the Line Between Real and Virtual
By Matthew Ingram
November 14, 2012
Bloomberg BusinessWeek