Facebook has made the decision to allow relatives to take over the profiles of deceased people. It is a major change, previously just making the pages a memorial to the deceased users. However, this decision has not been favored by everyone, as some would like their online lives to die with them.
There have been many calls for this over the years. Parents want the chance to share funeral arrangements and download photos to preserve them on their children’s timelines. Other family members want to share things with other friends through their loved ones’ pages. Until now, it was only possible to share on walls and not actually update as a status.
This is slightly changing with the introduction of the legacy contact. An individual can pick a Facebook user as their legacy contact, who will get access to some features in their profile after the user’s death is proved. A person will be able to posts updates, but will not post as the individual. There will also be no access to private messaging, making many people happy.
People do not need to set up this legacy contact, and it is currently only available to U.S. members. There is the option to ask Facebook to delete a profile once a person is confirmed deceased, or users can choose to have nothing happen.
Facebook will offer relatives a chance to take over profiles in a way. The move has come since Virginia ruled in favor of parents and guardians having access to deceased children’s online profiles. The case came when a teenage boy’s parents were unable to access his accounts to close them down or keep in touch with his friends.
To make this happen, the social media giant will need to be informed of the death. Someone will then verify that before changing the page to a memorial. It will have “remembering” written over the name, with the name of the legacy contact for people to know who will be taking over the page. Other functions will remain as they are now, so people will still be able to look through old photos and post on the wall.
Some have argued that the process of proving someone is dead is too distressing. However, Facebook must do this for privacy sake. It has regularly been accused of not respecting the privacy of its users, and this is a way to show that that is not the case. There are also legal elements before handing the profile to someone else.
There are other options for people who want others to handle their Facebook accounts after death. One of the simplest options would be to include the passwords for all accounts on a piece of paper or in a document on the computer. The “heir” will have full access to the accounts, then, without the distressing moments of proving death.
This new move has positive and negative sides. While it is distressing, it is a move that many people have asked for. Facebook is allowing relatives to take over a person’s profile after their death.
By Alexandria Ingham