In what may be the most morbid policy ever, Facebook now lets you control your profile after death through a "legacy contact." It's sort of like choosing an executor for your will, but instead of instructing who gets what, you'll be instructing them which in-memoriam photos to upload.
It's a pretty important power to bestow on someone, so be sure to take certain factors into account when choosing a legacy contact. And, yeah, the process of choosing one in your settings may be more than a little depressing, but it's by far better than Facebook's previous policy.
So why would you keep your account going posthumously anyway? There are actually many benefits to designating someone to manage your account after your death. One, the new policy essentially turns your page into a tribute, or what The Wall Street Journal calls a "digital gravestone," where your friends can lay their digital flowers, so to speak, by writing goodbye notes and posting photos.
Prior to this policy, Facebook would merely freeze the accounts of the deceased, so their pages were just these unfinished, inactive accounts of their lives, which is infinitely sadder. It's sort of like dying mid-sentence rather than getting to say your proper goodbyes. I mean, would you want your last status update — the one about discount tacos — to be what people remember you by?
A little more convinced now? Here's what a legacy contact does and how you can choose one.
What The Legacy Contact Can And Cannot Do
The legacy contact's most important task is to write a post, presumably to announce the sad news and to memorialize the deceased, that will display at the top of the page. They can also change the profile picture (you know, in case the current profile pic is a keg-stand shot or something like that), respond to friend requests, and, with prior permission, download photos and posts from the deceased's account, but they won't be able to access private messages.
What the legacy contact won't be able to do is change or delete anything the deceased has already posted, what friends continue to post, untag any photos, or delete the account.
What To Consider When Choosing One
You'll presumably choose a family member or friend who's very close to you, but that shouldn't be the only factor to take into account. It might feel natural to choose your mom or dad, but if they're only on Facebook to Like your photos and aren't exactly technologically savvy, it might defeat the purpose. You'll want to choose someone who will know the ins and outs of Facebook and someone who would be willing to do your tribute justice.
So don't choose a friend who only checks Facebook once a month. Your page might just sit there as if it were frozen. And definitely don't choose a friend who might not have your best interests at heart.
How To Choose A Legacy Contact
Go to your Facebook account, click Settings, choose Security, and you'll find Legacy Contact at the bottom. Click Edit and then type in the name of your chosen contact. You can't choose more than one, unfortunately, so hopefully you won't peace out together. And if you'd rather delete your account upon your demise, you can choose that option instead.
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