Facebook remains ahead of the pack when it comes to managing the social media accounts of those who have died.
With well over 30 million dead people still on Facebook (and predictions there will soon be more dead people on Facebook than those alive), Facebook has today added an extra layer to its memorial pages. I’ll get to that soon.
First, let’s go back to basics.
What happens to your Facebook page if you die?
When you die a family member or your executor can request your Facebook page be either deleted or memorialised. They will have to provide proof to Facebook that you have died, most likely with a death certificate.
Having your page memorialised means your friends can still post on your wall and the page can then become a place of mourning or remembrance. (But that’s only possible if your privacy settings allowed them to post on your wall in the first place.) Your page will look similar to what it always has, though the word ‘remembering’ will be displayed next to your name.
No-one will be able to log into your memorialised account and, importantly, your memorial Facebook page won’t show up in the ‘people you may know’ section, nor will your friends get a reminder about your birthday.
Legacy contacts: Giving a trusted friend a bit of control
Four years ago Facebook introduced what’s called Legacy Contacts. This is when you nominate a friend to manage parts of your account if you die. Don’t worry, they can’t access your messages in Facebook messenger and they can’t delete any unflattering photos of themselves that may be on your page.
Your Facebook Legacy Contact can pin a post on your page eg. your funeral details. They can also change your profile and cover photos and respond to any new friend requests.
How you nominate your Legacy Contact seems to differ depending on whether you’re on your desktop or using the App on your phone, but it’s not too hard to find.
On my desktop this morning I’ve clicked on ‘Settings’, then ‘General’, then ‘manage account’.
On my android phone, I’ve gone to ‘Settings and Privacy’, then’ Settings’ then ‘Personal Information’, and then ‘manage account’.
More information about Legacy Contacts HERE.
The latest: Tributes
Today Facebook has given your Facebook friends and your Legacy Contact a bit more power to add content to your memorialised Facebook page.
Tributes is a space on memorialised profiles where your Facebook friends and family can post stories, commemorate your birthday, and share memories. Facebook has just begun rolling out this feature so you might not see it on all memorialised profiles yet.
Posts made after the date your page was memorialised are now included in the tributes section. The introduction of this tributes section seems to have come about in a bid to separate the timeline posts you made while you were alive and the posts that have since been added by your mates after you passed away.
Facebooks says, “We do our best to separate tribute posts from timeline posts based on the info we’re given”.
It also gives someone (your Legacy Contact) the ability to control what’s being said on your timeline – just in case cousin Jerry
gets really pissed one night and posts what he REALLY thinks about you and your family and the affair you had with his sister.
Your nominated Legacy Contact can change who can see and who can post tributes. They can also delete tribute posts or remove any tags of you that someone else has posted.
Sure, you’re probably not going to die anytime soon, but it’s not going to hurt to get a little prepared. So, you have to decide what you want done with your Facebook page when you die.
Once you’ve decided TELL YOUR PARTNER OR A FAMILY MEMBER or you can write what you want in The Bottom Drawer Book: the after death action plan, written by yours truly. It’s a colourful read with lots of practical information and room for you to write your funeral wishes and life’s reflections.
So get to it. What do you want to happen to your Facebook page when you die?
ABOUT THE BLOGGER: Lisa Herbert is a death awareness advocate, a cemetery wanderer, journalist, and author of The Bottom Drawer Book: the after death action plan an informative, modern, and quirky workbook and funeral planning guide for those who want to prepare for the inevitable. The third edition is available in Australia for $29.95. For international buyers, The Bottom Drawer eBook is AU$15.99 on Apple Books, Kobo, Booktopia, and Google Books. To purchase, click HERE. Lisa enjoys telling the stories of the dead as they reveal so much about our history.