|Staying Dead on Facebook
By: Jessica Cherok
Facebook wants to make sure that when you die, you stay dead. The social media giant has recently made changes to its policies regarding users who have passed away.
Facebook used to allow the option of keeping a deceased user's account active, or have it memorialized. Now, Facebook has removed the option. According to Facebook's updated policy, "If Facebook is made aware that a person has passed away, it's our policy to memorialize the account."
Most likely, Facebook's change seems to be in an effort to prevent the accounts of the deceased from being hacked, as well as possibly preventing notifications about events and likes from the person who has passed. The company hoped to minimize further pain for grieving loved ones.
Over the years, Facebook has made several changes to its policy regarding deceased users. Originally, the company would delete the deceased's account after a 30-day period. However, many users who wanted to use the accounts as part of their mourning process protested the policy, and Facebook then created the option to memorialize.
But defining the parameters of memorialized pages has not been an easy feat. Facebook has opted to keep the user's last privacy settings as part of their memorized page, meaning many mourners may be unable to access the content, depending on the settings. Facebook addressed this issue with "Legacy Contacts," a group of designated users who could make changes to Facebook profiles in the event of a user's death. Simply pick which friend or family member you want to be in charge of your page after you're gone.
Thanks, social media, for giving us one more aspect to consider in estate planning.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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