ROUGHLY 8,000 Facebook users die every day, and dead profiles are expected to outnumber the living by the end of the century.
Grim statistics like these highlight an interesting question faced by the site's 2.5billion users – what happens to my Facebook account after I die?
The Californian company has actually set up a way to "memorialise" a deceased friend or family member's account.
You can also nominate an heir for your page to look after it long after you're gone.
What is a memorialised Facebook account?
Once someone’s death is reported to Facebook, their page becomes “memorialised”.
This means the account is secured and then prevented from coming up in notifications or friend suggestions. A "Remembering" badge is added to the top of the profile.
According to Facebook: "Memorialised accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away."
Proven immediate family members can also request that a loved one’s account is removed from Facebook, although Facebook will never let anyone log in to a dead person’s account.
What happens to my Facebook account after I die?
There are three things that can happen to your account after you die.
For an account to be memorialised, you'll first have to set up a "legacy contact".
A legacy contact is someone who you have given permission to look after your account after you have died.
They can manage aspects of your page, like friend requests and profile pictures, after it’s been memorialised.
A "tributes" section opens on your account where friends can post messages, memories and more. Your legacy contact controls your tributes section.
Alternatively, you can choose to have your account permanently deleted from Facebook following your passing.
Facebook says that if you don't choose to have your account permanently deleted, it will be memorialised if the firm becomes aware of your passing.
If neither of those two options apply, your account will simply remain inactive.
How to set up a Facebook 'legacy contact'
To set up a legacy contact, you can head to the official form on Facebook's website.
- Click the down arrow in the top right of Facebook and click Settings.
- Click Memorisation Settings.
- Type in a friend's name in Choose a friend and click Add.
- To let your friend know they're now your legacy contact, click Send.
What can a legacy contact do?
- Write a pinned post for your profile (example: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service).
- View posts, even if you had set your privacy to Only Me.
- Decide who can see and who can post tributes, if the memorialised account has an area for tributes.
- Delete tribute posts.
- Change who can see posts that you're tagged in.
- Remove tags of you that someone else has posted.
- Respond to new friend requests (example: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook).
- Update your profile picture and cover photo.
- Request the removal of your account.
- Turn off the requirement to review posts and tags before they appear in the tributes section, if you had timeline review turned on.
- Download a copy of what you've shared on Facebook, if you have this feature turned on.
- Log into your account.
- Read your messages.
- Remove any of your friends or make new friend requests.
- Change who can see and who can post tributes.
- Change who can see posts that their loved one is tagged in.
- Remove tags of their loved one that someone else has posted.
- If the account holder had turned on timeline review, the legacy contact will be able to turn off the requirement to review posts and tags before they appear in the tributes section.
Deleting your account when you pass away
- From the top right of Facebook, click the down arrow and select Settings.
- Click Memorialisation Settings.
- Scroll down, click Request that your account be deleted after you pass away and click Delete After Death.
How to report a deceased person or an account on Facebook that needs to be memorialised
To request that an account be memorialised after someone has died, you'll need to fill out a special form on Facebook's website.
You'll need to provide a scan or photo of your loved one's obituary, death certificate, memorial card or other documentation confirming that they've passed away.
Once submitted, the request will be reviewed by a member of Facebook's team.
"After someone has passed away, we want to respect their wishes for what should happen to their account," Facebook says.
"If a family member or friend uses this form to submit a request, the account goes into a special memorialised state unless the person has requested to have their account removed when they pass away.
"If the account holder hasn't selected a legacy contact, the account won't be actively cared for by anyone after memorialisation has been requested."
There's a separate form for loved ones who want to remove a deceased person's account from Facebook.
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