On Sunday the latest murder weapon was revealed and it appears to be Facebook. The victims of the "Facebook dead" prank crime may die without shedding any blood, but they lose access to their accounts.
ABC News reported that if you want to know "How to 'kill' your friends" and not go to jail just turn to Facebook, where Rusty Foster discovered that he had been killed when he attempted to log in to his account and couldn't.
Foster was the butt of a "dead" joke in which his friends followed the prompts outlined by Facebook for halting a user's account, due to death.
The social media benefit is geared to give privacy to those who don't wish for their deceased loved one's accounts to remain open or active. But it can be abused.
Facebook's "Memorialization Request" page only requires users to fill out a form and to link to an obituary in order to have the social media tool shut down access to the account immediately.
But a weak link in the process reveals that just about an obit will do, including those with personal information that conflicts with the online deceased. And therein lies the issue, with some complaining that the site needs to take measures to prevent a recurrence of the Rusty Foster "Facebook dead" prank.
Foster says that while it was easy for his friends to get him shut out of his Facebook account, it was more difficult to regain his access. And he feels there needs to be a system put in place in which the company attempts to make contact with the account holder by email, in order to confirm if the request is a "Facebook dead" prank before automatically shutting down access.
An "I'm not dead" button would be handy too, Foster says. But the company says they designed the process to be able to quickly meet the desire of grieving family members and friends of the recently deceased, so don't look for them to change it.
What the company may choose to do, rather than tweak their memorialization process, is focus on locking out those on the media site who pull the prank on other users, turning them into real "Facebook dead" accounts.