There has been a lot of debate on this over recent years, but Facebook has now made it official that people can live on through the social media site. When people died, their pages really just stayed there as a place for current friends to remember them. However, things are changing considerably and it is sparking debate.
The social media site announced that it would introduce a legacy contact. This is someone who will be able to take over a profile when someone dies. The individual would need to set up this legacy contact beforehand, and there is no time like the present. It is unclear how this will work for those who have already passed on.
Facebook only started memorializing pages from 2007. Before then, those who died would have their pages removed once the social media giant found out. However, Jodi Seth admitted that the company realized that people still wanted to visit the pages and share information with mutual friends. Family members started contacting the company for more options. They wanted to “download and preserve photos”, as well as post information about funeral details. There was more that the company could do.
The problem was the law. There are very few laws currently surrounding the online accounts of the deceased. Virginia is one of the only states to introduce a law for parents and guardians to take over a decease child’s online accounts. That was only passed in 2013, but may pave the way for others. It only happened because the parents of a deceased teen in the state could not get access to his accounts.
However, the decision for Facebook to allow people to live on has led to debate. Not everyone wants their accounts to be taken over. They want their communications to remain private. A Zogby poll last month shows that 43 percent want their accounts deleted after they have died, unless they have already allowed access to someone else.
This is why Facebook has introduced the legacy contact. An individual will need to set this up before anybody else can gain access. It is possible to do this by going into Settings and choose to set the legacy contact. There is also the option to have the account deleted completely and permanently when death occurs. A final option is for nothing to happen after death.
Friends and family members are able to report the death of a loved one. Once Facebook has confirmed this, the tagline “Remembering” will be added over the username, and the legacy contact details will be shown instead. Private messages will remain private for the deceased individual, and the legacy contact will log in as their own account. It helps to take away some of the creepy feeling that people may have at the thought.
There have been many people over the years who have wanted access to accounts when a loved one has died. However, there are others who would like their profiles being deleted. This is the first time a social media account has given people the option. Facebook allows the chance for people to live on, but also gives people the chance to get rid of their accounts as soon as they die.
By Alexandria Ingham