Facebook wants to make it possible to establish a living will on your personal profile. While it may seem like a grim topic, or one that is a little overstated, with the growing importance, and growing role that social media plays in everyday life – this isn’t much of a surprise. The company announced a new feature called “Legacy Contact,” which will allow users to setup a point person, who can manage the Facebook profile after the user passes on.
The move is a unique one, since in the past, unless a user gave up their personal information – like a username, password, email address, or answers to security questions – many Facebook profiles would live awkwardly on after the passing of the individual. Interestingly though, this feature gives Facebook users the ability to have some say in what those in charge of the memorial account – can and cannot do. In 2009, Facebook introduced memorial pages, which was a nice update that allowed users to have their profiles memorialized after their passing. Before that accounts were frozen when the company learned about the passing of the user.
It shows the swing in Facebook and its use. It will be relatively simple, as the user will just have to answer a couple questions, and change a couple settings in the profile settings – granting access to the friend or family member. Then, when the user passes away – the legacy holder will have ability to receive messages, send messages, respond to friend requests and even post on the deceased users behalf. That being said, there are limits to the changes. The legacy holder will not able to view old messages, or read things that were otherwise private.
Right now, this new feature is only available for users in the United States. It will probably be getting expanded as the feature rolls out throughout the globe. This feature though is important because people have tried to make digital wills work – but at the end of the day – services themselves have to offer solutions to managing accounts after a user dies. Facebook has found a method to be as proactive, as any possibly could be.