When Emmy-award winning investigative journalist William Bemister passed away last November, his sister Stephanie decided to have his Facebook profile removed. You might think such a thing would be simple, but during a time of grief, Facebook makes it as hard as possible for profiles to be removed.
Ms. Bemister sent a copy of her brother's death certificate, but Facebook refused to remove the profile, sending this reply:
"Per our policy for deceased users, we have memorialized this person's account. This removes certain more sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or find the person in search. The Wall remains so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance."
Eventually, Facebook gave the real reason: it was because Ms. Bemister said only that she was a relative and did not inform them she was next of kin.
This certainly doesn't help Facebook's problems with privacy. Just last week, Facebook went through a debacle of returning to a previous version of their Terms of Service after users protested the new one, which they felt took too much control over their content.
In years past, Facebook has faced privacy issues related to advertising when a program used private information to advertise to Facebook members.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!