Till death do us part? – The latest updates on Facebook’s death policy
A look into what happens to your Facebook presence when you die.
Published byAlexis Pratsides
The importance of social media
Social media has become a part of our daily lives. It is easily accessible, user-friendly, and with so many different platforms and accounts types, the perfect place to show off and share interesting news.
The prevalence of social media and the necessity to have different accounts for personal and company use is perfectly demonstrated in Facebook’s need to create unique accounts for after death.
Along with the expansion of the digital giant, if the platform continues to grow at the current rates, the number of deceased users could be up to 4.9 billion before the end of the century.
What is Facebook’s death policy?
In February 2015, Facebook announced a new legacy contact setting for users in the United States. It allows users to choose someone to become a kind of digital executor for their Facebook profile. A legacy contact is able to make a post, accept friend requests, and archive photos and posts of the deceased user. This new option is one of four that Facebook gives its deceased members and is meant to help friends and family of the deceased cope with their loss.
Many social networks and online profiles either do nothing or automatically delete the account of a deceased user after a certain amount of time of inactivity has passed. By allowing the memorial account and legacy contact options, Facebook gives friends and family the opportunity to archive their loved one’s photos and posts, as well as give them a place to go back and look at the memories shared together.
Facebook memorialisation vs deletion
When a person dies, their Facebook account is not of a priority, however, taking no action on it can have negative consequences. Followers still have the option to publish on their timeline, tag them in photos, and send friend requests. Moreover, anyone is still capable of hacking the account and use it to scam followers or for identity fraud purposes. Due to this, Facebook suggests to relatives and close friends to memorialise accounts to allow loved ones to share memories on the deceased person’s timeline. Then, a remembering tag will appear next to the deceased person’s account. This kind of account cannot be accessed or logged into, although it can be managed by an assigned legacy contact.
Setting up a legacy contact
A legacy contact is someone that you choose to manage your Facebook account if it is memorialised. Your legacy contact will be able to:
- Write a pinned post on the person’s timeline. For example, to share a tribute message or give some more details regarding a memorial service.
- Respond to friend requests.
- Make any changes in the profile picture or cover photo.
- Request the account to be deleted.
- Export on a document what the deceased has shared on Facebook.
Here is how to select your legacy contact:
- Click the dropdown menu located on the top right corner of Facebook and go to the settings & privacy tap.
- Click on settings.
- You will see what happens after you pass away option.
- Here you will be able to select your legacy contact by filtering your loved ones’ names.
Simply delete your account
If you don’t want to memorialise your account, you also have the option to close it permanently and delete it. Thus, all the deceased account interactions (messages, photos, comments, posts, and reactions) will be removed from Facebook. Currently, due to the COVID-19 sanitary crisis, the contact service has slowed down the way the social platform manages these requests.
You can delete your Facebook account by accessing the above menu and ticking the remove this account option at the bottom part of the displayed menu.
What do you think about Facebook’s death policy? Let us know in the comments or tweet us.
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