As our lives become increasingly intertwined with the internet, more and more of our assets are developing in, or converting to, the digital world. We own email accounts, domain names, hosting accounts, blogs, social media accounts, cloud storage, apps, ebook libraries, and more. As such, a big part of my job is educating clients on how to preserve and manage the digital assets of their loved ones when they die or become incapacitated.
It’s no surprise Facebook also understands the emerging importance of digital assets and just released an exciting new tool to help friends and family manage the wall and profile of a deceased Facebook user. Before this change there were only two options: 1) Keep the page public, in which case anyone could post on the user’s wall, or 2) have the page “memorialized” so only “friends” of the user could post on the wall. But either way, without the user’s password loved ones could not accept new friend requests, update pictures, or pin important information on the user’s wall.
Last week, however, Facebook announced they will begin to allow a designated agent to manage a deceased user’s page, wall, and profile. From now on all Facebook user’s will have the option to choose a “legacy contact” – a family member or friend the user wants to be able to manage their account after they pass away. Alternately, a user can opt to have their Facebook account deleted immediately after they die.
This is what Facebook had to say:
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.
If you are a Facebook user, you can make a loved one your legacy contact by following these simple steps:
- Log into your Facebook account and open Settings.
- Choose Securityand then Legacy Contact at the bottom of the page.
- After naming your legacy contact, you’ll have the option to send them a personal message.