Social Media Tech News

No, You’re Not Dead, Facebook Just Thinks You Are

Dave Parrack 12-11-2016

Don’t worry, you’re not really dead, Facebook just thinks you are. Or at least the social network thought you were dead for a brief period on Friday. It turns out it was just a bug, and everyone who was previously alive is alive once more. Huzzah!


Thanks to what Facebook is describing as a “terrible error”, millions of people were reliably informed they had died. This occurred yesterday (Friday, November 11), when Facebook users who were very much alive and well had the following message added to the top of their profile:

“We hope people who love [name] will find comfort in the things others share to remember and celebrate [his/her] life.”

This is the banner that normally sits atop the Facebook profiles of people who have passed away. It’s an option for relatives who choose to memorialize a loved one’s account Facebook Now Lets You Give Someone Your Account When You Die What happens to your Facebook profile when you die? Read More rather than delete it. Memorialized accounts remain online in perpetuity for family and friends to visit.

The Gravest of Grave Errors

This grave error (excuse the pun) prompted various responses. Most people took it all in their stride, making light of the notion that they had somehow died without anyone telling them Your Last Email & Testament - What Happens To Your Data When You Die? I know it's a morbid subject, but the reality is that we live in a virtually immortal society. While our bodies may cease to exist, our virtual profiles go on appearing in emails, automatic notifications,... Read More . But there must have been cases of people happening upon the banner of someone they love. Which can’t have been a pleasant experience.

I guess we should take some solace in the fact that even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was flagged as having died. Which likely sped up the process of fixing the issue. And to be fair to Facebook, the company issued an apology for making such a dumb mistake in the first place, saying:


“For a brief period today, a message meant for memorialized profiles was mistakenly posted to other accounts. This was a terrible error that we have now fixed. We are very sorry that this happened and we worked as quickly as possible to fix it.”

Were you flagged on Facebook as having died? If so, what was your immediate response to the bad news? Did you see the banner message on anyone else’s profiles? Did you panic or just assume it was an honest mistake? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Doug Scott via Flickr

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  1. Earl
    November 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Well, you're on facebook, meaning you don't have a life, meaning you might as well be dead.

    • Abhi
      November 13, 2016 at 1:14 am