Lauren Burk was a very close friend of mine. I am privileged to be able to say that. She was the kind of girl who had a bright future, and an even brighter smile. When some say "she lit up the room" it is ends up an exaggeration. In this case, it would perfectly describe her effect on others. Lauren really did brighten your day simply with her presence. She was a freshman at Auburn University and was about to finish up her first year. Tragically, she was stolen from us by a random mugger and attempted rapist. Lauren fought back and was in the process of running away before she was shot in the back. Her car was torched and Lauren ended up dying in the hospital shortly after. Her murderer was caught.
But this blog is not about her murderer, it is about the way Facebook has decided to handle her now memorialized profile. What many don't know is that when a user of Facebook dies, their profile goes into a "memorialized" state. What this means is that Facebook has "... a system for removing status updates, groups, contact information, photo comments and some other data." What we are trying to make Facebook realize is that this is censorship; plain and simple. And to make it worse, they are censoring the words of someone which might be precious to others. I know, for me personally, Lauren's last words to me were through Facebook. It hurts to have those words taken from me. I'm sure this situation is the same for many other people in mourning as well. To Facebook's credit, they were polite up until the very last email I got from them. To their discredit, they never gave me a reason for this censorship. The support team very tactfully avoided the reasons, even after repeated requests for their reasoning.
So in summary, Facebook has decided to not respect the sanctity of a loved ones last words by selectively censoring her remaining profile. I, as everyone should, am quite disappointed with Facebook's policy and, to a degree, quite angry with how they handled the situation.
I will included the entire transcript of the emails I had with Facebook's support team.