Facebook messages to contact dead friend 'creepy'

A Charlottetown man says Facebook should do more to explain what happens to a person's account after they die.

A Charlottetown man says Facebook should do more to explain what happens to a person's account after they die.

Chris Vessey recently lost his best friend, but he's still getting online reminders to stay in touch with him.

"Being prompted to essentially talk to the dead is a little on the creepy side actually," Vessey told CBC News on Monday.

Over the 22 years Vessey and his friend knew each other, they spent a lot of time together, going to movies and social events. In recent years, they used Facebook to communicate. That ended Aug. 28, when Vessey's friend died in a car accident.

Facebook, however, continued to prompt Vessey to stay in touch with his late friend — at least once a week.

"It bothers me because it's prompting you to interact with the person the way that you would have when they were alive," he said.

Digital afterlife

Martin Kratz, a Calgary lawyer specializing in technology law, said people need to be clear in their wills about how exactly they want their digital afterlife handled.

"To make sure they have left some type of record of all of their passwords so that there's physical access for the person who has now legal authority to follow up on these matters," said Kratz.  

Facebook recently introduced a new policy that allows family and friends to turn the home page of someone who has died into a memorial. Those sites can only be accessed by existing Facebook friends. Facebook also then stops generating keep-in-touch suggestions.

As the executor of his friend's estate, Chris Vessey said he will now memorialize his buddy, but adds Facebook should do more to publicize that service.