facebook Signal, Facebook

Imagine Facebook a decade from today. If we went by the old policies of the social networking giant, we would have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dead profiles. The previous policies stated that the account of a deceased person would be frozen and allowed to float online to serve as a memorial. Thats about to change now.

Facebook has released a new feature in the UK which allows users to nominate ‘legacy contacts’ who can stand as their accounts’ caretakers in case of the account owner’s death. The feature is expected to go global in the coming weeks.

The new feature will allow the nominated contact(s) to write posts and change profile pictures on behalf of the deceased, as well as ignore or accept new incoming friend requests. There are limitations though which Facebook has put in place to honour the privacy of the deceased user. The legacy contacts will not be able to edit previous posts, edit new posts added by others or delete pictures that the deceased has been tagged in. Nor will they have the power to delete the page/account.

The account’s messages will also not be accessible to the nominated contacts. Facebook’s product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch said,

We try to make it clear that the legacy contact won’t post as you. It’s a caretaker- only acting on your behalf in very specific ways.

If you don’t want to allow anyone to use your account on your behalf when you pass, you could also choose to delete your account. Someone just has to inform about the event to Facebook and they will take care of the rest. This, too, is a new feature which just when live.

Nominating legacy contacts is quite easy and straightforward. Just follow these steps:

  • Click the options button in the top right.
  • Select the security option and then type in someone’s name.
  • Click ‘Add’ and then the message button, which will send a message to your chosen contact regarding the feature.


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