Facebook had a change of heart and will now allow you to “immortalize” yourself.
Users will be able to designate a page administrator who, upon your death, will be restricted on what he or she may do with your profile.
Prior to this new feature, Facebook would freeze the deceased person’s profile, turning it into a memorial.
Though the profile would still exist, nothing could be added or modified.
Facebook announced on their blog, after spending time talking to people who have experienced a loss, the appropriate way to sympathize with users is by showing support with developing the “Legacy Contact.”
The idea of this feature was established with the help of researcher Jed Brubaker, a Ph.D doctoral candidate at UC Irvine.
“We’ve seen people use Facebook to grieve a person who has passed away, to remember that person, and to celebrate their life. It became clear to us that we could do more,” said Spokesman Andy Stone.
When users pick the person, they have the option to send an immediate personalized message or the default message that reads “Since you know me well and I trust you, I chose you. Please let me know if you want to talk about this.”
“When I told my sister, I jokingly told her not to go through my things and keep me looking cool,” said student Tanya Gibbons, “She responded with, ‘I’m going to delete it, that just sounds depressing.’”
As demonstrated on the site’s blog, the designated person may write a post to display at the top of the memorialized timeline (for example, announce a memorial service or share a special message), respond to friend requests, and update the profile photo.
The “Legacy Contacts” may have access to downloading archives, including photos, posts, and information if allowed by the user.
The person taking over your account will not have access to view personal messages or change your account settings.
“I would want mine deleted. What’s the point? I’m dead,” said Kathy Vanegas. “I don’t want people to dwell on ‘how funny I was.’ Move on and live on the memories created instead.”
However, you may choose to have your profile deleted once Facebook is notified of your death.
“The most gratifying aspect of Facebook’s new features is knowing these changes will make Facebook a more supportive space for people during challenging times,” said Brubaker.
Facebook is not the first site to give an option on who or what will take over your digital assets after you die.
In 2013, Google introduced the Inactive Account Manager that also gives users the option to pick a designated person to take over a Gmail account, as well as documents in Google Drive.
To assign a Legacy Contact: Choose Security Settings > Legacy contact located at the bottom of the page. Who will you choose to continue your digital afterlife?