Am I blogging on Valentine’s Day? Yes I am, with birthday cupcakes in the oven (my birthday lasts the entire month of February), Dance Moms on the tv, my dog by my feet and my mom by my side. I even had Bojangles earlier but you’d know that if you followed my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram (go follow it, I know you want to).
Anyways, I saw that Facebook changed its policy on the profiles of people after they’ve died following in the footsteps of Google, who allows users to decide how long the Google accounts would need to be inactive before they are deleted.
In February of last year, Facebook updated its policy to preserving the profiles of the deceased so that everyone may see them: this was an update from its previous way of handling the profiles by making the profiles– and everything in the profile like images and statuses– only viewable to friends of the person before they died. Facebook claimed this was done to protect what his or her “expectations of privacy” as Facebook stated.
Facebook has again made some changes: accounts of the deceased will become memorialized and “legacy contacts” will be more common. Facebook defines this legacy contact as “someone you chose to look after your account if it’s memorialized,” or in other words, the authorized user that will make decisions for your account after you die. The legacy count will be able to respond to friend requests, pin posts to the top of the page– which could be helpful in spreading information about memorial and funeral services following the death or other helpful information– and change profile and header pictures. For all of you really concerned about your privacy, don’t worry: your legacy contact won’t be able to see your messages or change any settings you chose prior to your death.
Facebook verifies the death of the person before they memorialize the profile by a news article or obituary, and after that, the legacy contact will be in charge of it. These memorialized accounts will have a “Remembering” label beside the name and will not be seen in friend suggestions, advertisements or other public places, but the profiles still have images and posts viewable.
My favorite part of the change in Facebook’s policy is removing the profiles from public spheres. I’m always surprised to see people that I know are no longer living shown in the “People You May Know” category of Facebook, and not a surprise party reaction, but a negative surprised. The same can be said when I see a brand shows that one of my Facebook friends liked the product: yes, my deceased friend may have liked Lysol at one time, but I don’t want to see that.
Mashable made a guide to make adding a legacy contact to your profile and easy process if you decide that you want a backup plan for your Facebook profile in case you die. I, for one, don’t enjoy those thoughts so I’m going to go back to watching Dance Moms.