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article image'Facebook dead prank,' the meanest online prank you can play

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 7, 2013 in Odd News
The meanest online prank you could possibly play on anyone is the "Facebook dead prank." Facebook has a form that almost anyone can gain access to and fill to declare another person dead. Easy online access to the form has caused some embarrassment.
According to MyFox8, the bizarre prank is gaining popularity online.
The "memorialization request" form has been made so easily available that practically anyone can access it online, fill it and convince Facebook that a user has died. Once the form is filled and submitted, Facebook immediately proceeds to create a "memorial page" of the person presumed dead.
According to Buzzfeed, ideally, the process involves a friend or relative filling out a form available on the Facebook Help section, giving the name, email, and account name of the deceased.The form asks whether the person filling the form is a friend or family member but does not seek any evidence for the answer provided.
Then it asks for an obituary of the alleged deceased. Facebook, as pranksters have found found, will accept an online obituary of any person with a name similar to the alleged deceased.
According to MyFox8, once the form is filled and submitted, the Facebook account of the person is quickly locked down and replaced with a "memorial page" where people may post their condolences, eloquent eulogies and poetic tributes.
What makes this prank very effective is that while obtaining the form and getting the Facebook account of the victim locked is very easy, getting it unlocked once Facebook has posted a "memorial page" is relatively difficult.
The victim of the "Facebook dead prank," who finds he has been declared dead whilst alive will have to fill a form that declares and confirms that he is still alive. Facebook could be rather tardy in responding to the "undead."
Recently, BuzzFeed demonstrated how easy it is to play the "Facebook dead prank" by testing it on one of its employees. According to BuzzFeed, as soon as a “memorialization request,” was submitted the Facebook page of the alleged deceased was changed to a tribute page.
BuzzFeed gives an outline of the procedure for the "Facebook dead prank":
Locate the “memorialization request” form on the Facebook Help section. Fill in the person's name, email and account name. Then state that you are a friend or family member of the "deceased."
The only "proof" Facebook demands is an online obituary with a similar name. That "proof" is surprisingly easy to provide for persons with fairly common names. Simply do a Google search. Then provide Facebook with a link to the obituary page and submit the form; and you will have a tribute page up for the victim very shortly.
BuzzFeed reports that a Facebook spokesperson responded to an inquiry about precautions with regard to the process: "We try to take all necessary precautions when processing user requests and provide an appeals process for any possible mistake we may make."
But Facebook did not explain the bizarre fact that they accept obituaries with details not matching those of the alleged deceased. For instance, the personal details of the BuzzFeed employee on whom the prank was played did not match the obituary document in spelling of name, age, and city of residence.
GigaOM also observed that while it takes only a very short time to have Facebook switch on the tribute page, it may take several days to get it reversed.
However, in the case of the BuzzFeed employee, it took only about an hour to reactivate the account. Facebook sent a message that said: "It looks like your account was suspended by mistake. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. You should now be able to log in. If you have any issues getting back into your account, please let me know."
NOTE: While this article has given a detailed outline of how to accomplished this rather extreme prank, it is strongly recommended that readers don't attempt it on friends or relatives. Caution is also strongly recommended where the intended victim is a friend from a foreign culture. This sort of thing may be nothing but a prank in some cultures, in others it is taboo.
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