Facebook adds after-death feature

Following recent news about Facebook deleting the profile of a recently deceased father, upsetting his family, the social networking giant has today revealed a new feature that allows users to choose a ‘legacy’ contact – a family member or friend who can manage an account after a user had passed away.

“Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialise the account,” the company says in a blog post.

The legacy contact will be able to:
•   Write a post to display at the top of the memorialised 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 memorialised. 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,” the blog post explains.

Up until the announcement, when someone passed away, Facebook offered a basic memorialised account that was viewable, but could not be managed by anyone. “By talking to people who have experienced loss, we realised 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,” Facebook says.

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.

Facebook has also redesigned memorialised 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.

– Shannon Williams @ TechDay