Facebook Adds Features To Let Users Control What Happens To Accounts After Death

legacycontactfbookIn a reversal from its past stance that all it would do is freeze a user’s account upon death and “memorialize it,” Facebook says it will now allow users to designate a “legacy contact” to have some control over their pages, or otherwise designate what they’d like to happen to their accounts after they’ve passed. Or, you can tell Facebook just to shut the account down for good.

The new legacy feature is rolling out for all U.S. users today, and will let people choose their legacy contact to manage their account when they die. That person won’t be able to read private messages or post as the deceased user, but will be able to pin posts to display at the top of the memorialized timeline, respond to new friend requests and update the profile picture and photo, Facebook announced in a newsroom post today.

Users can also give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of photos, posts and profile information they’d shared on Facebook.

Everything else will remain the same, though the word “Remembering” will also be added above the user’s name once a family member or friend alerts Facebook that the person has passed away.

You can also choose to have Facebook permanently delete your account upon death.

To choose a legacy contact: Go to Settings > Security > Legacy Contact (at the bottom of the page). Choose your person, and you’ll have an option to send them a message to give them a heads up.

“Our team at Facebook is grateful and humbled to be working on these improvements,” the post ends. “We hope this work will help people experience loss with a greater sense of possibility, comfort and support.”