Have you ever had the birthday of someone who has passed away show up on your birthday list on Facebook? That reminder of what should have been a happy occasion can feel like a gut-punch when Facebook reminds you that they are no longer with you.
Facebook has a feature that allows for someone else to memorialize your account or delete it all together should you pass away. Moreover, you can assign a legacy contact that can look after your Facebook account after your death.
Although a Facebook account is not going to be a priority for you as you deal with death, it is something you should deal with as soon as you can. Memorializing and managing the Facebook account of someone who has passed away keeps hackers from taking over and defacing the account.
What Happens When a Facebook Profile Is Memorialized
When someone memorializes a Facebook account for another person, the account locks so that no one can log into it. This means that no one can change the account’s settings, add or remove friends from the list, and none of the already existing content can be removed or altered in any way.
Depending on the settings determined by the person memorializing the account, people may still be able to post to the account’s timeline. This setting allows friends of the deceased to write tributes or other messages on their timeline. It also makes it possible for everyone who could see the account’s posts, comments, likes, and photos before to continue seeing them.
When other people access the deceased’s profile, they will see the word Remembering next to the person’s name.
Best of all, in my opinion, the account’s owner will no longer show up in “People You May Know” or in birthday reminders.
How to Memorialize an Account
If your loved one did not name a legacy contact before their death, you can still memorialize their account. Prepare to prove to Facebook that you are an immediate family member or executor with the authority to do so. Also, have access to the death certificate or another form of proof of death in case they ask for it.
Here are the steps for memorializing someone’s profile.
- Visit this page that Facebook created to memorialize accounts for those who have passed away or are medically incapacitated.
- Enter your name and email address so Facebook can contact you.
- Provide the name of the person who has passed away. Then enter the URL of their Facebook profile and the email address used to create the account.
- Choose from the displayed options to memorialize or delete the account as you see fit.
It’s best for all involved if you set a legacy contact in your Facebook page settings. Your loved one will have one less thing to worry about. However, if you’d like to memorialize the account of someone, these are the steps to take.
How to Set Up Facebook Legacy Contacts
Facebook offers two digital legacy solutions.
First, you can select a Facebook friend, and the selected friend doesn’t have to be your relative. They only have to be on your friend list. Second, you can request to have your Facebook account deleted after your death.
Here’s how to add a Facebook legacy contact:
- Navigate to Facebook, click on the drop-down button next to the notification bell at the top right of the screen, and click on “Settings & privacy.”
- Under “Settings & privacy,” click on “Settings.”
- You should be taken to the “General” tab. Under “General Account Settings,” you should see “Memorialization Settings.”
- Click on “Edit” on the right.
Subsequently, Facebook tells you what actions your selected legacy contact can take when you pass away. They can manage who can post, see, and remove tributes to you.
Additionally, your legacy contact can do the following:
- Request deletion of your Facebook account
- Respond to friend requests
- Update your profile and cover photos
Note: Your legacy contact can’t manage the posts you made on your account before you passed away. Furthermore, they can’t post under your name or see the contents of your Messenger.
After selecting a friend as your legacy contact, they’ll be notified once through Messenger. Facebook will send your chosen legacy contact a reminder once your account is memorialized.
- To get your account memorialized, an immediate family member or executor must provide appropriate documentation. Your legacy contact will only gain access after Facebook’s review.
- After fully understanding what electing a legacy contact for your Facebook account means, type down your trusted Facebook friend’s name in the “Choose a friend” field and click “Add.”
Below the “Choose a friend” field, Facebook informs that if you don’t want your Facebook account up after you pass away, you can request to have it permanently deleted instead of selecting a legacy contact.
When you request account deletion, all your information on Facebook, photos, posts, will be permanently removed from Facebook. This is after qualified individuals inform the platform of your death with appropriate documentation.
- After you click on “Add,” you’ll see a window where you can send a template that you can send as a message to your legacy contact. You can edit this message or opt not to send it.
Below your legacy contact’s name and photo, you’ll see the check box under “Data Archive Permission.” Checking the box will allow your legacy contact to download a copy of everything you’ve shared on Facebook, even the ones not visible to them. The downloadable copy excludes your messages.
The elected Facebook friend won’t be able to accept or reject being your Facebook account’s legacy contact. If your selected contact doesn’t want to participate, you’ll have to remove them manually. You can do so by clicking “Remove” in “Memorialization Settings.”
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What documentation is required to memorialize a Facebook account?
To submit an account for review after a memorialization request, Facebook will require the person who sent the request to provide the deceased person’s name, date of death, and proof of death. The proof of death can be an obituary from a reputable source or a death certificate. If everything checks out, Facebook will approve the request to memorialize the deceased’s account.
2. Can you add non-family members as legacy contacts?
Yes. As long as the person you want to assign approves of being your legacy contact, you can add them. Make sure to add people you trust would manage your Facebook account properly after memorialization.
3. Is it possible for Facebook to reject requests to memorialize an account?
Facebook can reject an account memorialization request if the person who informed them about someone’s death is unable to provide the required documentation to support their claim. This is to prevent people from declaring other users who are alive as deceased either by mistake or intentionally.
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