A new feature just rolled in by the social network giant, that enables users to appoint an ‘heir’ to their Facebook account in the event of their demise. Although this feature was initially announced early this year, it has only gone live now.
The new feature gives users the ability to appoint an executor to their Facebook account who will take over the management once they die. The ‘heir’ will be able to continue posting updates, send and receive messages, accept and cancel friend requests, upload videos and pictures, etc. just like the original owner would.
However, the ‘heir’ will not be able to read the deceased’s previous private messages, edit what they had already posted, delete what the deceased’s friends previously posted and will not be able to delete the account.
It is also now possible to have your account deleted after you have passed away. Your family or friends will have to notify Facebook of your death, for the social network to delete your account. This approach by the social network is seen as a more sensible approach when compared to the previous approach where it froze the deceased’s account but maintained their page as a memorial.
When Facebook first came out with this ‘legacy contacts’ it was received with a lot of ridicule, with some people including TV shows mocking the move by saying the ‘dead’ will be updating status from their graves. People were also concerned that it could lead to confusion as some people may think that the deceased is still alive especially if they didn’t know he or she had passed away, and they mainly use Facebook to communicate with the given account holder.
Vanessa Callison-Burch, Facebook product manager said: “Facebook is a place to share and connect with friends and family, for many of us, it’s also a place to remember and honor those we’ve lost. When a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendship, and experiences.”