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And to my wife, I leave my... Facebook account

Barry Collins
27 Jul 2015
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British users can now nominate someone to look after their Facebook account after they die

Your last will and testament might cover who gets the house and your fine collection of vintage games consoles, but now Facebook's British users can determine who gets custody of their Facebook account when they log off for the final time. The company is now letting Brits set a "legacy contact", handing a loved one or friend control of their account when they die. 

Facebook has been relatively slow to address the thorny issue of what happens to accounts when their owners have expired. The social network "memoralises" accounts when it's informed an account holder has died, leaving it as a "place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away".

Now, however, it's possible to name someone to look after your Facebook estate, giving them limited powers to fiddle with your memorialised profile once you've gone. Legacy contacts are allowed to write a "pinned post" on your profile, informing people of your death or posting details of a funeral service, for example, as well as update your cover and profile photos. Somewhat bizarrely, they can also respond to new friend requests, allowing you to make new pals from beyond the grave. 

Legacy contacts can even be given the right to download a copy of everything you've shared on Facebook, although there are limitations on what your Facebook executor can do. They cannot log in to your account or read any private messages you've sent to others. Nor can they edit any of your previous posts or remove any of the friends you had before you died.

Facebook account holders must be over 18 to nominate a legacy contact, presumably to prevent friends taking charge of the accounts of children.

Facebook provides detailed instructions on how to set up a legacy account here. The social network ensures people are informed when they've been nominated as a legacy contact, and it's possible to remove and add a new contact if you should divorce or otherwise fall out with your nominated person. 

 

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