Social Media Law

Facebook will allow users to name 'legacy contact' in case of death

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For nearly a decade, Facebook has responded to notification that an account holder is deceased by verifying the death and freezing the account so no changes could be made.

However, on Thursday the social media giant said it will now allow account holders to name a “legacy contact” who will be permitted to manage the Facebook page after the user’s demise. The Facebook executor will be permitted to make one final post and perform other functions such as updating the user’s profile, responding to new friend requests, and archiving photos and posts. However, private messages will not be accessible to the legacy contact, according to the Palm Beach Post, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and USA Today.

“We heard from family members who wanted to post funeral information or download and preserve photos,” said Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch. “We realized there was more we could do.”

If an account holder doesn’t name an executor, Facebook will simply freeze the account just as it has been doing in the past.

Related coverage: “Delaware is first state to adopt model law that says social media accounts can be inherited”

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