Facebook, from beyond the grave

By , on February 13, 2015

Gil C / Shutterstock.com
Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Facebook, the world’s most popular social network site, launched an update that allows its users to appoint a “legacy contact” to manage a person’s account even after their passing away.

In a blog post revealing the latest feature, the social networking giant said: “Facebook is a place to share and connect with friends and family. For many of us, it’s also a place to remember and honor those we’ve lost.”

“By talking to people who have experienced loss, we realized there is more we can do to support those who are grieving and those who want a say in what happens to their account after death,” it added; referencing its previous effort to create a “memorial” page for the deceased, upon request of other users.

By way of the new Facebook feature, the designated legacy contact can take charge of the profile of the deceased, and can even update their posts and messages, update profile and cover photos, and even confirm new friend requests. All this activity allows the one who passed away to continue their Facebook online presence from beyond the grave.

Users of the site who choose to appoint a legacy contact can likewise give their consent for their designated contact to download previously shared photos, posts and profile information archived by Facebook.

The blog post clarified that “other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized,” and that “the legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.”

In this age of the Internet, ownership after death of a person’s “digital assets” is the subject of much discussion. According to legal experts, there is still so much speculation and subjective interpretation of who really owns digital assets such as cloud storage accounts, email accounts, and online libraries of music and books.