Reports of your death have been greatly exaggerated – by Facebook

12 Nov 2016

A Facebook bug scared the life out of people by announcing they were dead. They were very much alive, however. Image: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

A bug across Facebook, mostly in the US, announced the premature death of users with ‘in memoriam’ style posts. Even founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was remembered, after a seemingly untimely ‘demise’.

If you are reading this, then the chances are that you are very much alive.

A bug crept into the Facebook production system and announced the death of many of Facebook’s users in the US.

Future Human

Some users in Ireland had also seemingly ‘passed away’, including artist Jim Fitzpatrick. He remarked on his resurrection: “I thought I was special and had a eulogy prepared. Dammit.”

Users and their friends and families must have been shocked – or in some cases delighted – when a banner appeared across users’ page, offering condolences.

Death by social media

For example, in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, the banner read: “We hope people who love Mark will find comfort in the thing others share to remember and celebrate his life.”

In a statement that circulated after the bizarre turn of events, Facebook said:

“For a brief period today, a message meant for memorialised profiles was mistakenly posted to other accounts. This was a terrible error that we have now fixed. We are very sorry that this happened and we worked as quickly as possible to fix it.”

It was a strange and bizarre thing to happen and one could only imagine that perhaps there’s a doomsday protocol on Facebook servers for when major calamities happen, like Trump being elected US president, perhaps.

Anyhow, it is probably best to follow the late Steve Jobs’s advice: “Live every day as if it is your last.”

Or you could watch this Father Ted video:

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years