General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Announcing a death on FB?

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I'm not usually on this sub-board so forgive me if this has been discussed ad nauseum. 

After a long battle with brain cancer, a friend of mine from church passed away Monday night.  Tuesday during the day, my father texted me to let me know the news.  He was fairly close to her and her husband, and was a source of support to them during their battle as my own mom passed away two and a half years ago from cancer also.  It was not unexpected to me that she passed as I followed the medical updates on her on CaringBridge, and knew she'd been moved to hospice care at home and her daughter and new baby granddaughter were coming in for what was likely to be her last visit.

Still, it bothered me greatly to see on Facebook, about an hour after my dad contacted me, an acquaintance post about my friend's death for everyone to see.  This acquaintance only briefly attended our church, moved out of state several years ago, and was never close to my friend.  I'm not in any way suggesting that this acquaintance doesn't also have a right to grieve, but I thought it was definitely not her place to be posting about it on Facebook, especially so soon.  I know that many people would not have gotten the news yet and I would have been very upset if I had seen the Facebook post before I found out from my dad that she had passed.  I know my husband had not heard yet (he teaches) and I told him in the evening after our daughter went to bed, but I needed to make sure i did it before he checked Facebook so he didn't find out that way.

I know more and more people post "big" things (babies and death are both big) via Facebook, but what's the etiquette here?  Was she fine for posting this so soon, given her relationship to the person who passed?

FWIW, when my mom passed, my dad made calls to all our family and close friends individually.  Once we knew everyone who needed to know was informed, my sister posted on Facebook and my dad updated her Caringbridge to spread the word to those in less-tight circles.  It seemed appropriate at that point--and it was coming directly from family. 


I personally would think she is rude since A) She is not close to the family and B) not all family was contacted yet...I found out my grandfather's wife passed on this way and was upset. I didn't know she passed. I knew she was sick and critical but not yet passed. For others it would have probably be upsetting to find out that way impersonal vs the phone call.

Just Lori:
It depends on where she heard it.

If she read something online, then I think it would be fair to comment upon it on Facebook.  For instance, if an announcement was made on a CaringBridge site run by the family, then the family had made the initial online announcement.

If she heard it through word-of-mouth and cannot confirm if an announcement had been made, it's best to not say anything.

When a close friend of mine from church died, I heard about it from my parents. When I got onto Facebook, many people had already posted their thoughts about his passing and how they would miss him, etc., because word gets around fast in my church family. His family was already there when he died (didn't have many family members still alive), so it was probably okay in that situation, especially since most of the people who knew him were spread all across the country and wouldn't have gotten the news from our church family, were it not for Facebook.

I think the specifics of this situation make the person who posted presumptuous.  On the other hand, I don't think it is rude or wrong for the people who are next of kin to decide to post about a death to get word out about funeral arrangements.  When my husband died suddenly at age 28, I did a facebook announcement with a general "this happened, the wake and funeral will be ___" and asked some of my husband's friends to do the same so that I could let everyone know of his passing so they could come to the visitation and funeral if they wished to. 


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