Over a relatively short period of time, our lives have become more and more online-based, from e-mail accounts to the various forms of social media. However, whilst the popularity of such facilities has grown quickly, their response to the issue of what should happen if one of their users were to pass away has not been so swift.
Facebook has always been one of the more pro-active in this area. However, they have now taken the online ‘administration’ of one of their accounts a step further.
When an individual dies and Facebook are made aware of it, they will ‘memorialise’ that person’s account (unless that individual had established in their settings that their death should trigger the deletion of the account). A memorialised account is then left online for friends and family to treat as an online legacy to that person’s life, but cannot be edited or managed in any way by anyone, not even the executors in that person’s will.
However, Facebook have now taken this one step further, allowing you to nominate in your lifetime an individual who would be able to manage certain aspects of your account – a ‘legacy contact’. They would have the ability to accept friend requests, update photographs and download content from that profile for offline use. Facebook’s guidance suggests that additional features may be added in the future, but this already puts them ahead of many other online entities when it comes to dealing with the death of their users.
With so much of our lives online, this is yet another aspect which has to be sorted out when someone’s estate is administered. Any help provided by the companies themselves therefore can only be a good thing.
A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it's memorialized. Once your account is memorialized, your legacy contact will have the option to do things like: Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service) Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook)Update your profile picture and cover photoYou also have the option to allow your legacy contact to download a copy of what you've shared on Facebook