Facebook Now Allows Users to Pick an Account Heir

A new feature allows users to designate a friend or family member to become the caretaker of your account should you die.

We've talked before in this space about the messy legal situation that surrounds the social media profiles and digital content of the recently deceased. As quickly as personalized digital content sprang into being, the law was always going to be a few steps behind. As Brittny Mejia writes in the LA Times, Facebook has made it easier to get your ducks in a row should tragedy befall you:

"The social networking site Thursday introduced a feature in the U.S. that allows people to essentially will their accounts to a family member or friend who can manage their account when they die. Once an account is memorialized, the "legacy contact" can write a post on behalf of the deceased, respond to new friend requests and update the profile picture and cover photo. If a user chooses, they can also give the legacy contact permission to archive Facebook posts and photos. The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who died or see that person's private messages."

The Facebook product team explained how they felt they could provide more support to those suffering from loss. As Facebook is the primary means of communication between many people and their extended social networks, it makes sense to allow a loved one access in order to relay information. This method of designating an heir also allows Facebook to maintain security; no need to send someone your password for just-in-case situations.

"Facebook users can access the feature by going to "settings," choosing "security," and selecting "legacy contact" at the bottom of the page. Once a person is picked, users have the option to send a message to let that person know they've been chosen, but they aren't required to do that."

Read more at LA Times.

Photo credit: Gil C / Shutterstock

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