Monday 02 March, 2015
Have you ever thought about what happens to your Facebook profile after you pass on from this world to the next? Maybe not, but many others have and they’ve harassed Facebook with questions in the tens of thousands over the years. As a result, Facebook is now offering a new option for its over 1 billion users. After all, you never know when you’ll shuffle off this mortal coil and you’ll want to keep your friends updated.
In February 2015, Facebook announced its new “legacy contact” feature. This feature allows you to choose a family member of friend to take limited control over your profile after you give up the ghost. This person is your “legacy contact.”
Answering the Final Summons
Your legacy contact gets partial control over your profile. They can post a final status or make other updates related to your funeral services. They can continue to respond to friend requests, although this seems a bit strange considering that you’ll no longer be in this world.
They can also update pictures so that they can present your best face after you’ve bitten the dust. Most of us don’t live our lives like we could cash in our chips any day of the week. You may not want the pictures and other content you have at the top of your timeline to be there forever after you’ve gone over the Big Ridge.
You can also appoint your legacy contact to delete your account once you’re beyond the veil.
Your Online Memorial
Facebook says that the addition of the feature is in response to hundreds of thousands of requests it’s gotten over the last few years. It appears that this concern has crossed the minds of many.
However, the new feature does raise some issues. Will your legacy contact post the appropriate content you’d want posted? Could added friend requests cause confusion over the status of your mortal soul? What if there are conflicts between the people in your life, like family members or ex-spouses?
It is indeed tough for internet services such as social media sites to deal with what happens when one’s hour has come. There’s a thin line between allowing access to the deceased’s data and respecting their post-mortem privacy. This is why the legacy contact feature offers only limited control to your appointed executor.
Facebook is the first social media site to address this problem and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Although today most social media users are in a young and healthy demographic, it’s inevitable that one day they’ll be dropping like flies. Perhaps this will lead to other sites creating similar features.
The legacy contact feature is currently only available in the United States.