Facebook after Death

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 3, 2015

in Facebook, Uncategorized

facebook-715811_640If you are like me, you have some Facebook friends who have died, but their Facebook pages live on. We receive birthday notices and their profile photos show up when we visit sites that we both liked. Each time that happens, I ask myself if that is what is going to happen with my Facebook page as well when I die. I have been doing some research on this question and here is what I learned.

Facebook has provided a way that we can tell them in advance whether we’d like to have our page “memorialized” or permanently deleted after we die.

Facebook allows us to designate a “Legacy Contact” who can manage our “memorialized” page or we can tell Facebook that we want our page permanently deleted when it is notified of our death.

These options appear in Settings under Security. Here is how to find them:

  • Click on the downward triangle to the right of the padlock icon on your navigation bar
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on Security
  • Find Legacy Contact and click on Edit.
  • Choose one of two options:
    1. Name a Legacy Contact who will manage your memorialized page after your death (Facebook adds the word “Remembering” next to your Profile picture and no longer sends notification i.e. birthday among other changes)
    2. Request to have your account permanently deleted after you die

Your Legacy Contact has to be over 18 years of age and be one of your Facebook friends. You will have an option to send them a message when you designate them. When your page is memorialized, Facebook will notify them that they are now the managers of your memorialized page.

You can change your mind about either option until you die. You can designate a different person as your Legacy Contact and you can reverse your decision about permanently deleting your account. Just follow the steps above and change your choices.

Family members or friends can notify Facebook of someone’s death and their page will be memorialized. If a loved one has died without designating a Legacy Contact or requesting that their page be permanently deleted after death, verified immediate family members can request Facebook to permanently delete the page.

In a future blog, I will write about the memorialized pages and also the process of getting a page deleted after a person has died.

If you have any experience with what I have covered today, please tell us about it. Thank you.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John J. Boucher November 3, 2015 at 8:54 am

Thanks for this informative update about “Legacy” pages. I wonder if the folks at Facebook have ever thought of linking up these pages with those of http://www.findagrave.com. It is the premiere place for keeping legacies for people who have died, with over 100 million photos of the deceased, their graves, and short obituaries. It might add even more depth to the “Legacy” aspect. In 2013, Ancestry.com acquired Find a Grave, Inc., so that now people may also discover where the deceased fit into their family history and what their geneological roots are. With new DNA testing available, a whole new universe is opening for people to answer the question, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Of course, in the midst of this, our Christian response to this is, “You are a child of God and brother/sister of Jesus Christ!”

Another question: How can we give away our own deaths in such a way as to evangelize those who come after us in cyberspace?

(I bet that my wife Therese could add a lot more to these thoughts.)

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND November 3, 2015 at 9:21 am

Very interesting comment and questions, John. I do not know what else Facebook might consider. As the digital world continues to evolve, many possibilities present themselves.

Teri November 3, 2015 at 10:13 am

When a Sister has died, I’ve had success closing pages by contacting Facebook requesting the removal of a loved one’s account. We are considered “Verified immediate family members” when we can show the death certificate of the deceased Sister. This was the action we chose to take instead of memorializing the page.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn November 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm

A former coworker died recently and her page turned into the most beautiful memorial site… it was so moving. Another friend and I spoke a length about all beautiful things we read on Facebook.

You offer us a lot to think about and actions to consider. Thank you!

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