Keep Facebook Kicking After You Kick the Bucket

Site now lets users pick 'legacy contact' to maintain their page after they die
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 11:33 AM CST
Keep Facebook Kicking After You Kick the Bucket
You'll still be able to accept friend requests from beyond the grave.   (Shutterstock)

If you can't bear the thought of your digital footprint stagnating once you're 6 feet under, there's a new security setting that US Facebook users are able to tap into starting today: managing what happens to your page when you die. After a yearlong project of gathering data about the admittedly sensitive subject, Facebook has announced three options people can choose upon their demise, the Washington Post reports: Do nothing, in which case your page will be frozen forever once someone tells site administrators you're kaput; instruct Facebook that you want your account wiped out upon death; or appoint a "legacy contact" to serve as permanent guardian of your new online memorial. Choose well if you pick Door No. 3—you only get to appoint one person, and that person can't pick someone else when he or she dies.

The legacy contact doesn't have quite the same free reign as if you just gave a trusted person your password (which still isn't technically permissible under Facebook's terms of service). The legacy contact can change the deceased's profile or cover pic, accept new friend requests, craft a post to pin at the top of the erstwhile user's page, and download previous photos and posts. What the digital caretaker can't do: Snoop through old messages, make changes to previous posts, or delete the account, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facebook will add "Remembering" in front of your name so that people don't freak out when "you" accept their friend request. Living users also won't get notifications every time the legacy contact makes an update, and they won't (for now) get any macabre prompts asking for their own death designee. (Go to Slate for directions on setting up a legacy contact.)

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