Facebook is adding a new option to let you nominate somebody to manage your account after you die. It’s designed to make it easier to turn your page into an online memorial.
At the moment, once Facebook learns a user has died (and has seen supporting evidence such as a death certificate or obituary) it locks their account. It then turns their timeline into a memorial, meaning other users can continue to post messages.
Under the new system, users can nominate another Facebook user to be their “legacy contact.” Once the user dies, Facebook will “memorialize” their account, adding “Remembering” above their name.
The nominated legacy contact then gets limited control over the account, specifically to write a post (under their own name) that is kept permanently at the top of the deceased user’s timeline, to update the profile and cover photos, and to respond to friend requests.
When nominating a legacy contact, users can also decide whether or not to grant the ability to download an archive of their past photos and posts. Private messages won’t be made available, whatever the settings.
As well as the legacy contact option, Facebook is also adding an option to instead request that your account be deleted after your death.
The feature is rolling out gradually, starting in the US. When it’s available, you’ll see it listed in the security section of the settings menus. After choosing your legacy contact, you’ll have the option to send a message to inform them of your choice, though Facebook notes “you might also want to talk in person.”