Article By: Katie Falzone, Senior Director of Operations

Since starting in 1998, Legacy.com has received and screened more than 100 million Guest Book entries. We are asked regularly why we bother to screen entries before we post them online. Do people really write inappropriate and negative things? Can’t the funeral director or family of the deceased screen them?

While most entries that Legacy.com deletes are not intentionally inappropriate – copyright infringement is the most common reason we delete an entry – people do sometimes use the Guest Book to air dirty laundry or take one last shot at the deceased. Here are some real-life entries that Legacy.com has received and deleted:

      1. Dear Family, Imagine the shock to read the obits to find your mother had died! If you intent was to inflict more pain in me with this action, it did not work! I made my peace long ago. Gee, 6 siblings & not 1 could dial a toll free number. Not like it cost you anything. You call yourselves Christians? Regards, Bob
      2. While reading this obituary, and knowing important details about the entire family (including the daughter that was so disgustingly left out of the obituary – I am sure it was on purpose just to be hurtful), it is a terrible shame that anger can go beyond death. You should be ashamed.
      3. what can be said, I guess not to much…He will not be missed
      4. Nobody spoke on his troubled life as a youth and how many times he had been locked up and the many youths he abused physically and mentally. God knows when your time is up and Karma never goes away
      5. Ding Dong the Witch is dead….

Our goal in screening entries is to prevent the family and loved ones of the deceased from reading anything that could upset them further in an already difficult time. And this is the main reason we do not send entries to family members for review. If you had just lost a loved one, reading any of the above entries would be devastating.

Some companies use profanity filters to prevent inappropriate content from appearing online. While such filters are certainly useful, they wouldn’t catch any of the above entries. Going through each condolence message individually also takes a lot of time. With everything that the funeral home is already doing and coordinating for the family, it seems burdensome and time consuming for funeral directors to spend hours each day screening messages.

Bottom line – Legacy.com reviews entries because we believe it’s the right thing to do, and because we want our site to be a source of encouragement and uplifting content rather than a source of further pain. Our dedicated team of content screeners pores over potential Guest Book entries 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to make sure nothing inappropriate gets published. As a result, we find that friends and family of the deceased feel comfortable returning to and leaving messages in the Guest Book year after year – knowing that they will be comforted by what they see there.

Because of our condolence message screening, Guest Books receive two times more entries than if they were not screened. Additionally, 92 percent of families find the moderated Guest Book to be a valuable service.

For more information, read more about our Unified Guest Book service.

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