Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Facebook will use artificial intelligence to stop notifications about the dead

The social network will also change the way tributes can be left to those who have died

Facebook is going to use AI to stop loved ones recieving notifications about those who have died. AP 
Facebook is going to use AI to stop loved ones recieving notifications about those who have died. AP 

Facebook is to introduce artificial intelligence to stop friends and family members receiving notifications about the profiles of those who have died.

Profiles on the social media site stay active after a person dies, which means those who are friends with them still receive “painful” notifications, including a reminder of their birthday and the option to invite them to events or pages.

The artificial intelligence will work to stop these notifications, and will also show any tributes left to that person in a separate tab, keeping their timeline as they left it. The move comes after complaints from users who have been urged to interact with loved ones they have lost.

Sheryl Sandberg has said "we must do better to tackle abuse of social media". Reuters
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO. Reuters

In 2009, Facebook introduced an option to memorialise the page of somebody who has died – something 30 million people do every month – which stops notifications about the page and adds ‘remembering’ to the profile. However, the new AI technology will work to apply the same rules to pages which have not yet been memorialised.

"We hope Facebook remains a place where the memory and spirit of our loved ones can be celebrated and live on,” said Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Users can also assign ‘legacy contacts’, who will be able to monitor and moderate any posts left in their tributes tab should they die.

"Legacy contacts can now moderate the posts shared to the new tributes section by changing tagging settings, removing tags and editing who can post and see posts,” Sandberg said. “This helps them manage content that might be hard for friends and family to see if they’re not ready.”

Those under the age of 18 will not be able to nominate legacy contacts, but parents and guardians can contact Facebook directly to gain access.

Updated: April 10, 2019 12:59 PM