You may die, but your social media presence will not….or will it?

As the age of technology looms greater in all of our lives, the controversial topic of your online presence and what happens to it after you are gone is starting to become a topic of conversation and issue.

As of yesterday, Facebook is giving more options to decide what happens to users’ accounts after they die.


Facebook (which reportedly reaches about 556 million people daily, and continues to be the social media powerhouse globally) said Thursday that it will now let users pick someone who can manage their account after they pass away, a “legacy contact”.

This contact will be able to post on their page after they die, respond to friend requests and update profile and cover photos as well. The other option users will have is to have their account to be deleted completed upon passing.

In the past, the accounts were “memorialized” after death, or locked so that no one could get in. Facebook also ensures that the account of a user who died doesn’t show up as a “suggested friend” or in other forms that could upset the deceased’s loved ones.


The option for a legacy contact will begin in the US and is completely optional.  The following is an excerpt from the Facebook announcement about the new feature.

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. When a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendships and experiences.

Today we’re introducing a new feature that lets people choose a legacy contact—a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away. Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialize the account and the legacy contact will be able to:

  • Write a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline (for example, to announce a memorial service or share a special message)
  • Respond to new friend requests from family members and friends who were not yet connected on Facebook
  • Update the profile picture and cover photo

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. Other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized. The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.

Alternatively, people can let us know if they’d prefer to have their Facebook account permanently deleted after death.

Until now, when someone passed away, we offered a basic memorialized account which was viewable, but could not be managed by anyone. 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.

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