Managing Online Identities for the Deceased

We are researching the management of Facebook profiles after someone dies and the community that survives them.

If you have lost a friend and are managing/maintaining their Facebook account, we would love to hear more about your experiences. Please contact us using the information at the bottom of this page.

If you do not manage an account, but know someone who does, please send them this information. We appreciate your help!

Purpose of the Study

Many of our friends and loved ones leave behind social networking site profiles and accounts after they die. The purpose of this research study is to understand how, when, and why various survivors engage with and manage the profile of a mutual deceased friend or loved one. This study involves two types of participants: individuals who manage the deceased’s Facebook account, and individuals who are Facebook “Friends” with this deceased. The information below pertains to participants eligible for the former.


You are eligible to participate in this study if you are over the age of 18 and have the ability to login to the deceased’s Facebook account with his or her username and password. This study will take approximately 3-5 hours of your time over a 3-month period.


Your participation in this study involves 4 interviews and sharing profile data over a 3-month period, as well as the option to participate in follow-up research.

During interviews, you will be asked to access relevant social network site information, share content with the researcher, and describe ways that you use these sites via screen-sharing functionality (video interviews) or a provided computer (in person interviews). A recording of the interview will be collected, and your actions on the computer will be recorded via screen-recording software. In addition, you may be asked to think aloud while interacting with the social network site.

Interviews can be conducted online using Skype or Google Hangouts, in person at the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing in Donald Bren Hall on UCI campus, or at a location you find more convenient and/or suitable. You can also elect for the interviews to be broken into smaller sessions to accommodate your schedule or preferences. For your participation, we will provide a $300 gift certificate as compensation and thanks for your contribution.

Please contact us for more details about participation.

Lead Researcher/Contact: Jed Brubaker
Faculty Sponsor: Gillian Hayes
Department of Informatics
University of California, Irvine
Email: digitalafterlifestudy [at] gmail [dot] com