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Facebook of the dead rattles users

July 18, 2010 at 10:37 AM

NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- Facebook says it is still working on a way of culling "friends" from the system after they have died.

The automated algorithms have been known to send out messages to Facebook users reminding them to get in touch with friends they haven't communicated with, sometimes due to the fact that particular friend has passed away.

"It kind of freaked me out a bit. It was like he was coming back from the dead," Courtney Purvin told The New York Times while recalling a message she received recently urging her touch touch base with a family friend who died in April.

The Times said Sunday that more and more users find themselves reading messages pertaining to the departed as though they were still alive.

"It's a very sensitive topic," said Meredith Chin, a company spokeswoman, "and, of course, seeing deceased friends pop up can be painful."

The Times said Facebook, which was originally developed for use by teenagers and young adults with a lot of years ahead of them, is now being adopted by older users who are a lot closer to their final log-off.

Facebook is developing automated ways to help determine which of the millions of users on the site may have died so human investigators can follow up.

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