Facebook now lets you designate a “legacy contact” who can manage parts of their accounts posthumously. The social networking site also gives users an option to delete their accounts permanently. The feature has been made available to users in the U.S and will be eventually rolled out globally, though Facebook has not given a specific timing for the rollout.
The Legacy contact feature is available through Facebook's security settings menu. Users can select a specific Facebook friend who can control certain aspects of their profile, like their profile and header image, after they die. The Legacy contact can’t view the user’s messages or change their account settings, but can download an archive of the user's photos and other posts, if given permission by the original account holder. Users can also choose to have their account deleted after they pass away.
Facebook already has a memorialization system, where friends can inform Facebook if a user has passed away. After Facebook receives the information, it verifies it through an obituary or news article and the account becomes memorialized and doesn’t appear in "public" places or ads on Facebook. The accounts will now come with a "remembering" label before the name to let others know it's an account of someone who has passed away.
Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch stated in a post, "Family members will tell us 'I really want to communicate information about the memorial service with this person's friends.' The idea of a pinned post comes from there," says Callison-Burch. "People typically don't think about this very much until they have an experience of loss."