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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Mourning and memorialization on social media are prominent features of modern bereavement and are common on Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking site. On Facebook, profiles of deceased users are memorialized by default, continuing to be present and accessible on the network and opening up new possibilities for the ongoing role and influence of the physically dead. Paradoxically, Facebook and other aspects of digital legacy have potential to both facilitate and disrupt continuing bonds, a term that describes the connection we experience with our dead. The psychological and sociological impact of the dead online is only beginning to be understood; in the meantime, it is argued that designers and operators of social networking platforms have a moral imperative to consider how to better facilitate individual choice and control over both our own digital legacies and our interaction with the digital legacies of those we have loved and lost.

Keywords: bereavement, mourning, social media, Facebook, continuing bonds, digital legacy, memorialization

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