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A Facebook 'Legacy Contact' can manage your digital afterlife

by Mark Tyson on 13 February 2015, 10:20

Tags: Facebook

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In Facebook's latest update, the site has finally added what it calls a legacy contact, allowing members to designate a trusted friend or family member to manage part of their accounts posthumously, reports The Guardian.

Having had to juggle between respecting the privacy of the deceased and the demands of grieving friends and family, the world's most popular social network has rolled out a contingency plan and is now allowing users to decide who they'd like to have to take control of their post-death digital footprint. If preferred, users can also elect to have their FB presence deleted entirely.

Facebook had a policy of automatically freezing the accounts of members it learned had died previously, angering those who may have wanted to edit the deceased's online presence. The new options began rolling out to its U.S. members as of Thursday, with other countries including the UK, set to follow at a later date.

The new setting resides within Facebook's security options, and will allow the appointed person to make one last pinned post on the behalf of the deceased. In addition, they will be able to manage friend requests, update the cover and profile photos and archive content. If you choose to grant permission, your posts and photos will be available for the legacy contact to download and preserve, though private messages will be excluded. They will not be able to log in as you and do have the power to edit or alter posts already published by you on the site.

Only one legacy contact can be selected by each user, and in circumstances where they do not name one, but do include a "digital heir" within their will, Facebook will designate that person as their legacy contact. Your profile page may also be re-titled with the word 'Remembering' above your name.

The Facebook Legacy Contact move was in response to a large number of members requesting such a feature. It further highlights the importance of what happens to one's digital possessions and persona when one dies. Now I'm wondering what will happen to all my Steam games? Will there be a digital inheritance tax?

HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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Giving people control over what happens to this stuff when they die sounds like a good move to me.

Any criticisms of the change anyone?

Any criticisms of the change anyone?
Not that I can think of.

What does especially seem like a good idea to me is …
If preferred, users can also elect to have their FB presence deleted entirely.
That would be my choice. Of course, since I don't gave an FB presence in the first place, it'll be tricky either for FB to delete it, or a ‘digital heir’ to inherit it.

That said, giving the account creator at least some control over what they want to happen to it after their demise seems like a step in the right direction.