Tech by VICE

Facebook Says a Bunch of Living Users Are Dead

Welcome to the digital afterlife.

by Samantha Cole
Nov 11 2016, 10:01pm

Image: Shutterstock

Well, some of us may have been wishing for a zombie apocalypse to end our post-election pain, and Facebook has delivered.

"Facebook just declared me dead, along with everyone else on Facebook," Daily Dot tech editor Mike Wehner tweeted.

Not everyone has been declared dead, but a lot of users are seeing "in remembrance" banners at the top of their profile pages — despite being very much alive.

Vice video editor Zoë Miller, who says she also "done died and lived" to tell us this tale: "It happened so fast no one noticed. I just pored over a few message boards and realized I wasn't the only dead one out there. What a weird bug... I mean, after Tuesday I thought I had died and I guess Facebook felt it too!"

The common thread here seems to be their shared support for Hillary Clinton: As a social media analyst for Hillary For America Elaine Filadelfo tweeted: "FB thinks that many of my HFA colleagues are dead. seems about right, since this is our hell."

One theory is that Facebook analyzed the number of mournful messages and condolences sent after Hillary's defeat, and used an algorithm to mark these users as "memorialized." You can set up your own memorialization plan, but that action requires a human, or a "legacy contact" to fill out a form for you. If you don't have a legacy contact, someone can fill out a form for you.

Which leads to another theory: Someone (or a group of someones) is targeting and memorializing Clinton supporters' pages as a prank. But that's already been squashed by Politico reporter Hadas Gold, who says Facebook tells them it's a bug, not compromised accounts:

Shortly after this story was originally published, a Facebook spokesperson got in touch with us to confirm the bug report: "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."

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