Facebook has faced many challenges with people contacting them trying to access the accounts of loved ones after they have died. I wrote about this Father who pleaded with them to allow him to access his Son’s account. Facebook helped this Father with his request and at the time stated that they were working to “help people celebrate and commemorate the lives of people they have lost”.
Yesterday Facebook made good on this promise and announced a new feature called “Legacy Contact” that allows us to designate another Facebook user to manage our account after we die.
This provides the following limited features to this person
- 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
- (Optional) download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook
The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages. Also a new option is available to tell Facebook to permanently delete your account without designating a legacy contact as well.
Here is a short video I created showing the steps to turn this feature on from your computer
Youtube link to view clearer at a higher resolution. The official Facebook post shows screenshots for doing this in their app)
Here’s how you access the settings