Up until recently, your loved ones and even the executor (or “Personal Representative”) of your estate would be denied access to your Facebook account after your death. To address the issues this created, Facebook has changed its policy and now allows its users to designate a “Legacy Contact.”
A Legacy Contact is an individual who will be given limited access to your Facebook account after your death. Your Legacy Contact is entitled to make one last Facebook post on your behalf; respond to friend requests; update your profile and cover photo; and create an archive of your photos, videos, and posts.
Prior to the creation of the Legacy Contact, accessing a deceased loved one’s Facebook profile was a violation of Facebook’s user agreement. Instead, upon notice of a user’s death, Facebook “memorialized” the user’s page, which prevented any changes or access to the page, but kept it visible to others. After receiving many requests from family and friends asking to gain access to these accounts, Facebook decided they could do more and created the Legacy Contact.
Facebook’s new user policy is a step in the right direction in helping family members and friends gain access to your digital information after your death. Unfortunately, there are still many companies out there that do not allow your family and friends the same access. For this, a legislative response is needed, which we will explore in Digital Assets Part II. Stay tuned!
For more information on how to create a Legacy Contact, click here.