Facebook is a lifeline for most of us who are even the slightest bit in tune with social media.
Keeping up with what our friends and family are doing takes up a large portion of our time and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Although we’d like to have the reassuring feeling of eternal life, it’s simply not possible.
What actually happens with a Facebook profile when the user is no longer alive? Recently, Facebook has come up with the idea of a legacy contact. Technology website TechCrunch explains that prior to the new legacy contact, your friends could notify Facebook that they would like to turn your profile into a memorial page. With the legacy contact, the options for your beyond-the-grave Facebook page are much more customizable.
Your legacy contact is someone you can choose, whether it be a family member or close friend, to take over your profile page after you’ve passed away.
Facebook gives you the option of letting your chosen legacy contact know that you have chosen them through a straight and to the point message. The message tells the person you have chosen they should feel free to talk to you in person about this honor that has been bestowed upon them. The pre-scripted message seems a bit uninspired and bland compared to a face-to-face discussion of such a unique request.
Being a legacy contact is not being portrayed as an easy task by any means. There are many different aspects, ranging from adding new friends to pinning current posts to your memorial timeline. Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch told TechCrunch that the people at Facebook responsible for responding to requests to memorialize someone’s Facebook page have heard “a number of poignant stories of what a legacy contact needs to do.”
When a user’s time has come and the legacy contact is left to memorialize the page, they log on to Facebook and would have access to change the profile picture, as well as the ability to accept new friend requests.
According to Facebook’s help center, there are a few things your legacy contact will not be able to do or have access to for privacy reasons. These include removing or changing past posts, removing friends or reading old messages.
And, just in case there are people who are unaware of your passing, the word “remembering” will be put above your name on your new memorialized page.
Facebook has gone a bit on the morbid side with this one. In theory, it sounds like a nice idea. Almost like an electronic will, where instead of giving your loved one money or a physical possession, you relinquish your social media to them. It could become awkward if you request someone as your legacy contact and they politely decline. Then you’re back at square one.
If this trend catches on, before we know it, vigils and memorials will all be done through social media. If people are able to feel comfortable with the fact that they must think of their death in order to make this big decision about the everlasting life of their social media, Facebook could really be onto something.