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Facebook pages "hold profound meaning for those left behind" - expert comment on Facebook Tributes

Debra Bassett explores digital afterlives and the effect of digital memories on the bereaved. Commenting on the news that Facebook has announced a new Tributes feature, allowing friends and family to leave comments on a memorialized Facebook profile, she said:

"Social media platforms were designed for the living; therefore Facebook and other “accidental” digital afterlife service providers are playing catch-up with services they offer when a user dies.

“Facebook’s ‘Tributes’ facility is the latest such feature and will be a welcome addition to users of the platform, as it gives further control to the bereaved. My research demonstrates how control and comfort are inextricably linked when the bereaved inherit digital memories and messages enabled by the Internet.

“The ability to add digital tributes on the memorialised social media platforms once inhabited by deceased loved ones is an important addition, as Facebook pages of the dead should not be treated as left over data - for many, they contain the digital souls of the dead and hold profound meaning for those left behind.”

5 March 2019

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