I looked at the data FB has been collecting on me and apparently I’m dead

Facebook clues me into what I already know: I’m dead.

Earlier this month, millions of Facebook users were left shocked and seriously concerned for the state of their privacy when news broke that Facebook had improperly shared their personal data with Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 presidential election. I, however, was not one of these people. I hopped off that site as soon as the moms started posting Minions memes. Despite this, I was still curious to see what Facebook’s algorithms had determined on me based on my data. I’m nerdy like that.

In an effort to assuage their angry masses, Facebook recently released personalized information so that each of their users can see if their data was shared. I took full advantage.

After a few failed password guesses, I was logged back into my Facebook account for the first time since 2015. Ignoring the disgusting number of unread notifications and the immense urge to update my profile, I accessed my settings to see what the computers at Facebook thought of me.

“Gender: Female.” Wow. Great digging there, bots.
“Age Range: 15-25.” Sounds good.
“Education: Secondary School.” Ha! Joke’s on you, Facebook! I’m actually racking up debt at UNIVERSITY now!
“Interests: Knitting, Emo Bands, Cats, Asian Cuisine … ” Uh. It was 2015. Sure.
“User Status: Most Likely Deceased.” HOLD UP.

Yep, that’s right. According to my data, Facebook thinks I’m dead.

“User has not liked, posted, or logged in for (3) years. User has also not received any messages or been tagged in any pictures. Conclusion: User is mostly like deceased. Without action, this ghost account will be terminated in (1) year.”

Of course, Facebook is only stating the obvious here. I’ve been dead inside for as long as I remember. Cut me open and you will find only stagnant black sludge in my veins. Look deep into my eyes and you will find no light behind them. My soul left my body a long time ago, my body too frightened by the eternity and uncertainty of death to join it anytime soon. I blame Trump, among other things.

And in its great respect for the dead, Facebook seemed to have no problem using this data to exploit my corpse. My feed was inexplicably littered with ads for lavish coffins, strange funeral service options (e.g., Shot into the sun, incinerated and compressed into a diamond, fed to migrating butterflies) and, strangely, a lot of gothic makeup brands.

I wouldn’t have much minded these strange marketing tactics so much if I hadn’t checked my mother’s Facebook next. Our account data seemed to be connected, and instead of offering her sympathy for her daughter’s “death” or just leaving her the hell alone, Facebook seized the opportunity to try to sell her a whole number of insensitive and unnecessary items. Blessed water that her daughter couldn’t get into heaven without, five-dollar prayers, etc. Ridiculous things that would upset her even if I wasn’t dead. (Which I’m not. Physically, anyway.) But still!

I’d only been on Facebook an hour and I was already tired of these damn algorithms trying to get in my head, sell me things and prey on my grieving relatives with emotional manipulation. So do yourself a favor. Dead inside or not, delete Facebook before they target you next.

tucollegian | Collegian

The Grim Reaper, also known as Facebook, haunting Sara Serrano. Graphic by Conner Maggio

Post Author: Sara Serrano