Dying on Facebook just got a little less awkward. Death has always presented a delicate problem for Facebook until today. Now you can give someone power of attorney over your digital life. Today Facebook began letting users select a “legacy contact” who can partially control their Facebook profile after they die.
Previously when you bit the dust, your friends could notify Facebook to lock your profile into a memorial page. But now if you’ve set a legacy contact, that person can pin an announcement to the top of your profile to provide details for memorial services, approve friend requests, and change their profile and cover photo.
Alternatively, if you’d rather banish your Facebook profile to the shadow realm alongside your soul, you can tell Facebook to permanently delete your profile when you go to the big social network in the sky.
From the Facebook News Room:
Facebook is a place to share and connect with friends and family. For many of us, it’s also a place to remember and honor those we’ve lost. When a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendships and experiences.
Today we’re introducing a new feature that lets people choose a legacy contact—a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away. Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialize the account and the legacy contact will be able to:
- Write a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline (for example, to announce a memorial service or share a special message)
- Respond to new friend requests from family members and friends who were not yet connected on Facebook
- Update the profile picture and cover photo
If someone chooses, they may give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook. Other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized. The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.
Alternatively, people can let us know if they’d prefer to have their Facebook account permanently deleted after death.
Until now, when someone passed away, we offered a basic memorialized account which was viewable, but could not be managed by anyone. By talking to people who have experienced loss, we realized there is more we can do to support those who are grieving and those who want a say in what happens to their account after death.
Here’s how to choose a legacy contact:
Open your settings. Choose Security and then Legacy Contact at the bottom of the page.
After choosing your legacy contact, you’ll have the option to send a message to that person.
You may give your legacy contact permission to download an archive of the posts, photos and profile info you’ve shared on Facebook.
We’ve also redesigned memorialized profiles to pay tribute to the deceased by adding “Remembering” above their name and making it possible for their legacy contact to pin a post to the top of their Timeline.
We’re introducing legacy contacts in the US first and look forward to expanding to more countries. Setting up a legacy contact is completely optional.
Our team at Facebook is grateful and humbled to be working on these improvements. We hope this work will help people experience loss with a greater sense of possibility, comfort and support.