We’ve had the unfortunate reality of having three family members die in the past several years who all had Facebook accounts. My mother-in-law, her husband and my brother-in-law all died suddenly and we barely had time to find their wills much less think about Facebook.
Several years later and two out of three of them still have “active” Facebook accounts. We wrote to Facebook after my mother-in-law died and asked them to delete her account, which they eventually did, after we sent in her obituary as proof of the her death.
The other two just sit there, and often come up on our timelines for their birthdays or with notifications like “Tom hasn’t posted recently, say something on his wall!”
That’s why I’m so happy to see that Facebook has implemented a “Legacy Contact” option in your settings. Now you can assign someone to manage your Facebook account if you should die. You can also give that person the ability to download your photo albums, etc.
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 photoIf 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.
Alternately, if you would rather have your account deleted after your death, Facebook also offers an option for that.
You can find these settings in your profile under Security then Legacy Contacts