Facebook Offering a Way to Manage Accounts After Death

Facebook now allows its users to choose “legacy contacts” to manage their accounts after they die.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 2.10.01 PMLegacy contacts will have the ability to post messages atop the deceased user’s timeline, respond to new friend requests, and update profile pictures and cover photos. In other words, if you opt to choose a legacy contact, make sure it’s someone you really trust, otherwise your digital afterlife could get hilarious and/or messy.

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“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,” read Facebook’s note on the matter. “The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.”

Users can also opt for Facebook to delete their accounts after their demise. The “Legacy Contact” option is available in the Security section of your Facebook settings.

Facebook isn’t the first service to offer the ability to “death-proof” accounts. Google includes an “Inactive Account Manager” with options for deleting data and notifying trusted contacts if the user doesn’t log in for a preset period of time. And if the tech giants are layering in these features, hopefully the makers of smaller apps will follow suit.

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Image: Facebook

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One Response to “Facebook Offering a Way to Manage Accounts After Death”

  1. When my wife died, the biggest challenge was how to access her accounts to see transaction information. Fortunately I was able to figure out her Facebook password and post a lot of useful information there to let people know what was going on.
    As for other accounts, she had a savings account that she tracked entirely online and although I was on the account, it was “her account” and I never used it. When I finally realized the account was there (after the 1099 showed up at the end of January), I realized that 6 months later there were still more things to look into. If there were something that notified me, it would have been much easier to find all of these things. For all I know, there are still other account out there with her name and money in the accounts, like stock market things that typically don’t get mail, or accounts from other addresses where I don’t even see the notifications.
    Having a legacy component on any account is probably a good thing (even if you have to supply a copy of the death certificate to access the account—at least you’ll know the account exists after a period of inactivity.