Facebook has announced they are adding a Legacy Contact to the platform, where you can ask a family member or friend to manage your account when you pass away.
Rolling out the feature in the US first, Facebook says that once someone lets them know that a person has passed away, they will memorialise the account which will enable the legacy contact to:
- Write a post to display at the top of the memorialised account
- Respond to requests from friends and family members who may not have been connected on Facebook; and
- Update the profile picture and cover letter
The legacy contact won’t be able to log in as the user, but they will be able to download an archive of information, including pictures and posts that were publicly shared.
Alternatively, people can let Facebook know if they’d prefer to have the account permanently deleted after death.
Facebook have realised that grieving families and friends wanted more of a say in what happens to user’s accounts after they pass away.
Leave your social media wishes in your Will
Just like physical assets such as books, records and photo albums, the information we store online and what happens to it after death has become an interesting legal issue for estate planning lawyers like myself.
With millions of people on social media, we now store an enormous amount of content online. Our virtual world has a much greater impact on our lives and it’s time to consider what happens to that content beyond our lifetime.
I anticipate that other social media platforms will follow Facebook and Google’s lead, but it’s still important that you include provisions for social media and digital assets in your wills.
Here are some tips on how to protect your digital legacy.
- Review the ‘deceased user’ policies of each social media and email platform you use
- Plan how you want each account dealt with once you pass away
- See a legal expert to prepare a Will which includes instructions on how you want your digital profiles dealt with
- Don’t limit your wishes to specific current social media platforms