If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be scrolling through your friends’ pictures every day and getting as much information as you do now through Facebook, it would be really hard to believe. But, here we are, it is 2017 and for many of us, not a day goes by without spending time on Facebook communicating or just getting the daily dose of news and rumors.
However, have you ever thought about what happens to the Facebook account when the user dies? At some point, it might get quite depressing. Facebook currently has over 1.5 billion accounts and almost 30 million of them belong to people who have passed away. And with 10,000 users dying every day on average, the question becomes quite relevant; what will happen to my Facebook account when I die?
A death in a family is always very hard and upsetting and while some would rather not see your Facebook page still active, others are keen on cyber continuity of life and prefer to keep your legacy online.
If someone close to the deceased person had access to their Facebook page then everything would be much simpler, but for the private ones taking any action towards their account is quite tricky. However, there are several different options for the family and friends who want to gain control of the deceased one’s account.
While all social media platform have their own policy, with Facebook it is basically two options: simply deleting it completely or turning it into a memorial page, that no longer mentions the deceased one as an active user.
Closing the account
If you like your account to be closed after your death, your family member is requested to fill out a Special Request for Deceased Person’s Account. The request is only accepted from immediate family members and proof of death might be required as well.
For those who would like to keep the pictures and videos of the deceased ones on Facebook, memorialization option is great as it keeps the account just as it was, but the user is no longer listed as active. Memorialization process of the account also includes increased security to value the privacy of the deceased person. There is special Memorialization Request that a friend or a family member should fill out and submit to Facebook to initiate the process. The proof of death might also be necessary for approval.
New Legacy Contract
Recently, Facebook introduced a third option to make the process easier for the families of the deceased ones. New Legacy Contract allows users to choose legacy contacts for their accounts and in case of death, these people will be able to access their accounts. Legacy contacts can assist Facebook in managing memorialized profile for their deceased loved one. They can respond to friend requests, update photos, download information and all these without accessing the original account, but rather through managing a page from their own accounts.
While all these might sound creepy to some, others prefer to plan everything ahead, even the smallest details like what is going to happen to their Facebook account after their death. You also have two options here. You can make it easier for your family to keep your account up and memorialized upfront by choosing a legacy contact. Choosing a legacy contact is very simply. Just go to settings and click Legacy Contact and enter the name or names of those who you would like to be in charge of managing your page in case something happens. You can also notify Facebook upfront if you prefer to have your account permanently deactivated in case of your death.