Death in the digital age: commemorating someone’s Facebook account

Death in the digital age: commemorating someone's Facebook account

Facebook saves many precious moments and memories of so many people. Keep making memories and share them on Facebook so your friends and family can check it out too. You can also remember all those special moments every time you log into your Facebook account and look at those pictures. But have you ever thought about what happens to your Facebook account when you die? Nobody wants to think about it really. Facebook takes care of that too and has a proper policy to commemorate the deceased person’s Facebook account.

If someone from your Facebook friends and family has passed away and their account is still active, here are the options available.

  • legacy contacts

Inherited contacts are those selected by the deceased person before their death. This could be a family member or friend who can manage the person’s account after the person’s death.

Legacy contacts are:

  • Allowed to make a pinned post to the top of the deceased person’s timeline, update their profile photo and cover photo, and respond to new friend requests. They can also download an archive of the user’s photos, timeline posts, and profile information with the deceased user’s permission taken earlier.
  • They are not allowed to log into the account of the deceased user, check their private information, such as Facebook messages. They can’t delete the person’s posts, photos, or friends.
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To choose a legacy contact, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Log in to your Facebook account and go to the settings section.
  • Under the ‘Security’ option, select ‘Legacy Contact’.
  • Next, click ‘Edit’, type in the name of your friend or family member, and then click ‘Add’.
  • After that, you can inform the selected person about your decision, since they will be the one to ask Facebook to commemorate their account.
  • Once you’ve done this, you can decide if you want them to download a copy of your Facebook account under Data File Permission. If yes, click the check box, and then click Close.

If you don’t want to choose a legacy contact before you die, no one will be able to manage your Facebook account and they can only remember it.

  • Commemorate someone’s Facebook account

Now, if the person passed away without setting up a legacy contact, you can still ask Facebook to memorialize your account. Facebook knows how important a profile is to the family and friends of the deceased person.

Facebook verifies requests, but the requester does not have to be the executor of the deceased or a family member. Anyone can submit the application form. This is done to ensure that the commemoration takes place at the right time.

How to commemorate a Facebook account?

It can be done by filling out a form in the help section and asking Facebook to put the account in a memorial status. Once approved by Facebook, the account is restricted to friends only and sensitive information is removed, if applicable. However, the profile and wall will remain active so that friends and family can post memories and offer condolences.

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The word “Remembering” will be used before the name of the memorial account. The account will not appear in Facebook ads, in the People You May Know section, and will not be sent reminders on the person’s birthday. This also prevents the account from being hacked as memorial accounts cannot be logged in at any time.

Deletion of the commemorative account

A close family member of the deceased person can also ask Facebook to remove their profile entirely.

To do this, you must complete the Special Request for Deceased Account form. You will need to provide the deceased person’s full name, email address, date of death, and their timeline URL. You will also need to provide proof that you are an immediate family member by showing a birth certificate, death certificate, or proof of authority.

Download Memorial Account Information

The deceased person can mention in their will who will access the information in their Facebook account and Facebook will respect their decision afterwards. Whoever has been instructed by the deceased person may download the account information upon presentation of prior authorization or court order.

How to commemorate a Facebook page?

There is no specific procedure that needs to be followed to allow you to remember your Facebook page. Once the Facebook account has been memorialized and no one has access to it, the connected Pages will remain there but there will be no activity on them. In case the deceased person’s family or friends have requested the removal of the Facebook account in question, the linked Facebook pages will also be removed.

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Please contact Facebook help if you were unable to memorialize a (deceased) family member’s Facebook account.


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