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Facebook Cruelty. Not an Easy Read, but an Important One: Report

I wrote this post on Monday-Tuesday, July 21st-22nd 2014. I have given a lot of thought to the timing of publishing it. 
On one hand, I would have preferred publishing it only after the fate of the missing soldier, Sgt. Oron Shaul, will be known, as his family is still going through the nightmare of uncertainty. 
On the other hand, reporting these cruel, fake pages and profiles to Facebook can do some good. 
After plenty of deliberation, I decided to post it in Hebrew on Wednesday, July 23rd and in English on Friday, July 25th, for this reason: please report

Until now, the most difficult post to read - and write - in this blog was the ugly side of Digital Death. It tells about real, extremely cruel behaviors of 'Death Trolls': people who target grieving families and bully them online. At the time, I did not imagine it would only be a 'Part One' post, but here I am writing 'Part Two', which seems to be just as difficult to read - and write - and perhaps even more.  

Since news first came out that a soldier is missing, many fake Facebook profiles and pages were created under his name

Printscreen: Izz ad-Din al-Qassam's website

Not knowing if their son is dead or alive, if he has been captured and held in captivity or if his body is missing, his family is probably doing what any of us would have done and are looking for clues online. Extreme cruelty is directed at them as the Facebook search results come up with the following abomination: 

Search results from Monday, July 21st 2014, profiles only: 

The first result is his real profile: 

The real profile is no longer online. 
I hope it has been taken down by his family, as a way to limit access to pictures of his which have been "feeding" the fake profiles and pages

The next two results were fake profiles. In both of them he "works" at Golani - his IDF unit - and in one of them he "lives" in Gaza. Both of them are no loner online either, so I assume they have been reported as fake and taken down by Facebook. 

Search results from Monday, July 21st 2014, pages only: 

When opening a Facebook page, a page category has to be chosen. Further cruelty is presented by these choices, for instance in a page presenting him as a pet. I admit I had tears in my eyes when I saw it: 

Other page category choices have been to present him as a politician: 

A comedian: 

A fictional character: 

And as a public figure: 

Several pages were categorized as community. The first one used the same cover photo as his real profile: 

Search results from Tuesday, July 22nd 2014, pages only 

This time we get a slightly different outcome: 

Looks like some pages have been reported and taken down, while others have gained "likes". 

One page claimed he could "help", but it too has been taken offline since: 

I wish I could believe that person did mean well, but I'm afraid it was just a way to express further cruelty: 

Other pages under his name were used to spread Hamas propaganda, which is why I'm not linking to it. 
Most of the links will become unusable anyway as the pages are reported and taken offline. 

So what can you do? Report 

Write his name in Facebook: Oron Shaul. 
You will come up with search results of pages. 
Once inside a page, there are three dots on the right hand side. Click on them and several options will present themselves. One of them will be "Report": 

After choosing "Report", a new window will come up. Choose one of the available reasons, then click "Continue": 

May his family get out of the hell of uncertainty regarding his fate as soon as possible. 

A sad update: Oron Shaul has been declared as "a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown". The pages are still online. Keep reporting, they are being removed. 


Yahoo! Japan Offers a new Digital Death Service

On July 14th 2014, Yahoo! Japan launched a new service: Yahoo! Ending

In the past several years, many websites have popped up, offering services such as leaving messages behind to be sent posthumously and/or services to manage the many online accounts we all leave behind. 
Google was the first company to offer an in-house solution, not via a third-party (although not a complete, whole solution), when it launched its Inactive Account Manager service in April 2013. 
Yahoo! is now the second company to offer an in-house solution, although in Japan only. 

According to a Wall Street Journal blog entry, the service:
"Sends out digital farewell messages and deletes personal data from the Internet corporation’s online system once it is confirmed that the user has passed away".
Other parts of this service include: 
"Helping one prepare for one’s own funeral and providing the basics on writing a last will. Activating the service terminates any billing charged to Yahoo’s digital wallet, and deletes all texts and images one has saved on Yahoo Box online storage. Those who sign up can also create a “memorial space” tribute site that launches after the user’s death is confirmed, where visitors can leave condolences after they learn about the passing. The memorial page can include a bio, photos, video clips, final messages and an invitation to one’s funeral".
 Some of these services require a fee. 

Their signing up slogan is: “If this is your last day of life, are you prepared to leave?” - which is a very good question. 

Yahoo!'s international policy regarding a deceased user is the strictest among all the international websites / platforms / suppliers we all use: 
"Yahoo cannot provide passwords or access to deceased users' accounts, including account content such as email".
Posthumous access will not be granted to anyone, under any circumstances, regardless of their family ties with the deceased. The only thing they do offer is to close his or her account. 

(If you wish for no one to access your account after your death that is absolutely fine and your wish should be respected as it is a legitimate one. However, most people simply do not think about this, and their loved ones are left to ponder if they should enter the many online accounts we leave behind or not, and if yes, how). 

It will be interesting to see now if other companies will follow in Google and Yahoo! footprints and supply their users with in-house solutions, and it will be interesting to see if Yahoo! will offer this new service outside of Japan.