Many of us now live huge parts of our lives online. We use our social media accounts as scrapbooks of our lives that contain our most cherished memories – our photos, major life events, and interactions with friends and families. But, what happens to these when we die?
Facebook has over 2.32 billion active users each month but not everyone that uses the platform knows it has some great features that put the power in your hands upon your death.
Hidden away in Facebook’s settings is the option to create a ‘legacy contact’, someone who can take limited control of your account upon your death. This can be useful as it allows your legacy contact to share funeral details with friends and your extended family. The contact can then also manage a memorialised version of your Facebook profile: managing posts, tags, and tributes from your friends and family. You can also allow your legacy contact to download parts of your profile upon your death, such as your photos and videos.
Alternatively, you can choose to have Facebook permanently delete your profile and its contents upon death.
When thinking about death and dying we regularly express our wishes regarding our funeral, our possessions, and our finances – but rarely about our digital legacy and our data online. It’s something we need to start doing as we live more and more of our lives online. It can be almost impossible to gain access to someone else’s account after their death as many social media websites still do not have adequate processes in place.
The Digital Literacy Association has lots of great resources and step by step guides on how to memorialise your Facebook page and how to manage other online accounts after your death. They’ve also developed a ‘social media will’ template to help ensure your wishes are adhered to.