There are countless articles on the subject of Facebook etiquette on the web. Yet there is very little advice concerning protocol when a friend on Facebook dies. How should you react when a Facebook friend meets their demise? Well, in the event that someone you interact with on Facebook passes away, the first thing you should do is write a personal message of condolence on their Facebook wall. That’s the easy part. The difficult aspect is deciding what to do next because it isn’t Facebook policy to delete the profiles of dead members.
Once you have written a message of condolence on your friend’s Facebook wall, you have two different options. You can either delete your dead friend from your Facebook friends list, or leave them on it. If you delete your deceased friend from your friends list immediately after their demise, you run the risk of seeming callous and coldhearted in the eyes of mutual Facebook friends. Deleting your deceased friend immediately might also make you feel guilty later on. However, if you don’t delete your deceased friend from your Facebook friends list at some point, others might get the impression that you are ghoulish and macabre.
So what are you going to do about your dead friend on Facebook? When it comes to Facebook etiquette and the death of a friend, there is no right or wrong answer. What’s more, the opinions of mutual friends are of secondary importance and should not be a deciding factor when deliberating what action to take. You must do what feels right to you.
It might be a good idea to ask the family members of your deceased friend what their intentions are. Some families like to keep the Facebook page as tribute to the memory of the loved one that has passed away. If this is the case with your friend, you might want to keep them on your friends list. That way, you can revisit your friend’s page whenever you want to remember them. You can also visit a deceased friend’s Facebook page to share memories with other people who are grieving. Bear in mind that precious memories are what keep lost friends and loved ones alive in your heart.
If the family members of your deceased Facebook friend do not intend to make the page into a memorial, it might be a good idea to delete them from your list. Still, it’s probably bad form to delete your deceased friend from your list right away. Out of respect for your friend, you might want to wait until after their funeral before you delete them from your Facebook friends list.