Facebook’s New Legacy Contact Feature
Facebook Legacy Contact Feature Released
Over 8,000 Facebook users die each day, yet Facebook’s terms and conditions haven’t kept up with the every growing issues surrounding death of social media users. Today, Facebook announced that it will now allow users to designate a Legacy Contact who can manage their account when they pass away. Proof of death through an obituary or death certificate will need to be provided and once the user’s death has been authenticated the designated legacy contact will be able to:
- Post an announcement, memorial information or special message on the top of the person’s timeline.
- Respond to recent friend requests from family members and friends who were not yet connected on Facebook
- Modify the deceased profile picture and cover photo.
It is also possible for Facebook users to give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of photos, posts and profile information that had previously been shared on Facebook. Considering how much content we all share on Facebook on a daily basis, the Facebook Legacy Contact feature could be quite helpful if you’re contemplating digital legacy plans for yourself and your family.
To get started —> Open your settings. Choose Security and then Legacy Contact at the bottom of the page.
Facebook has also redesigned memorialized profiles (a user’s profile that’s no longer “active”) by adding “Remembering” above the deceased’s name and making it possible for their legacy contact to pin a post to the top of memorialized profile Timeline. This provides the community with a signal, and the opportunity to pay tribute to the deceased. View the official press release from Facebook here.
If you’ve gone down the Facebook Legacy Contact feature route, we would love to hear your thoughts. How did you find the process? Was it helpful to start a conversation?
If you find this interesting, you might find our digital afterlife blog posts helpful.
I thought I had prepared myself for my grandmother’s death, I mean…we had gotten those “get to the hospital quickly” calls so many times over the 5 year period since Grandpa had died. I had been mentally preparing myself for this day over several years with grandma’s dementia progressively getting worse. February 2013 was the last time we would rush to the hospital, this time it was pneumonia but she made it through….beat the odds. She was one tough cookie!
4 months later, while I was at a farewell party for a friend I took a quick glance at my phone and realized that I had missed several calls and texts from family members. I didn’t even have to listen to the voice mails to know that something was wrong. I suspected it was the common “get to the hospital quickly” message but I never anticipated that I would be notified of my grandmothers death via voice mail.
Yeap, today’s technology provided us with ways to say “Grandma died in her sleep” without the long silence or awkward pause waiting for the person on the other end of the line to respond. That is good right?
Many people thought it was terrible to hear the news via voice mail, but I quickly realized why. One family member said “Oh Angela, I was so afraid you would have found out via Facebook…you were so close to her, I know that would have been horrible”. Those voice mails and texts were from people wanted to protect me from what I would see on social media as other family members started to grieve via today’s communication tools. Could you imagine finding out a loved one died via Twitter or Facebook? Well sadly it happens.
4 stories share the power of death and social media:
An entirely new set of issues with social media is playing a role in the grieving process. Would you be willing to get a photo of a loved one deceased in order to “virtually” properly identify the body? A New York Times article explores the power of death and social media for today’s generation “Online Generations Redefine Mourning“.
Today, we live in an increasingly electronic world. We pay our bills online, we do our banking online, and we even do a great deal of our communicating online. Whereas once we recorded much of our personal thoughts on paper, in a diary, or in some other form of written fashion, today much of what we record we do so in a locked online format. This article discusses what happens to your online life after you die and how you can leave your online legacy to your family.
Online passwords are meant to protect our information from would-be identity thieves and hackers. They ensure the safety of our personal and private data, but unfortunately, in the untimely event of your death, these online passwords can also lead to a frustratingly horrific nightmare for your family and loved ones. It’s important to make plans for your online life after you die, and to take important steps to ensure your family has access to everything they need once you’re gone.
One of the greatest and most necessary steps for every single person who stores any amount of information on a computer is to have a planned release of passwords and other sensitive information to their loved ones in the event of their death. Simply having a master list of passwords and other information available may not be enough to help your loved ones sort out your online life, and as a result many people have turned to companies like Legacy Locker to store their passwords and critical information.
Companies like Legacy Locker have master databases that safely store your critical data in encrypted form to ensure they are safe against would-be identity thieves. At the same time Legacy Locker has a system in place to release your critical information to the person or people you have chosen in the event of your death, making it easier for your loved ones to sort out your online life after you are gone. And Legacy Locker has a system in place to verify your death and the identity of your loved ones prior to releasing sensitive information, so your passwords won’t fall into the wrong hands.
No matter what stage of life you are in it’s important to protect your life and preserve it in such a way so that if anything ever happens to you, your loved ones will be able to pay your bills, access your social networking sites, and sort out the details of your online life.