Facebook’s new “legacy contact” is the latest response to the growing need for better options to help manage digital assets upon death. Google has offered users the option of adding an “Inactive Account Manager” for some time now. But the “legacy contact” feature is a big departure from Facebook’s previous policy which only allowed user accounts to be memorialized.
The legacy contact announcement was made on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 on the company’s website. Included in the information Facebook released were detailed instructions on how to set up your legacy contact and details on what the designation allows the contact to do with your information.
Today we’re introducing a new feature that lets people choose a legacy contact—a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away. Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialize the account and the legacy contact will be able to:
- Write a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline (for example, to announce a memorial service or share a special message)
- Respond to new friend requests from family members and friends who were not yet connected on Facebook
- Update the profile picture and cover photo
If someone chooses, they may give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook. Other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized. The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.
Alternatively, people can let us know if they’d prefer to have their Facebook account permanently deleted after death.
Read the full announcement: Facebook corporate page legacy contact announcement.