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How To: Set Up A Legacy Contact on FB

In the age of social media, what do you want to happen to your digital footprint when you gone? Since Facebook is the largest of the global social media, today’s post will be covering How To: Set Up A Legacy Contact on FB and manage what happens to your FB account once you are gone. 

facebook icon

According to many sources, the general consensus is that 2.6 billion people use Facebook monthly. Considering that the population of the Earth is around 7.8 billion, that means that about 1/3 of the Earth has a Facebook account.

For most people thinking about or discussing death isn’t an easy subject to approach, but unfortunately, life is like a movie, eventually, the ending credits will roll. Before social media, all people had to think about life insurance, and having a will. Now people also need to think of what will happen to my social media accounts? You need to consider

  • Do you wish for things to be memorialized and left behind?
  • Do you wish for things to be deleted?

Most social media these days have an option for you to set up a “Legacy” contact to be responsible for your account once you have passed away. Whether you share posts on Facebook often, periodically, or not at all, you may wonder what will happen to your account after you die. The following will cover the “Legacy Contact” option for Facebook.

For those who want to cheat and not go through the entire post – You can jump ahead to these sections:

1st – What is Facebook Memorialization

Memorializing a Facebook account is a way to keep your account active after you die. Instead of Facebook just showing your name, once memorialization changes your page will read “In Memory of” before your name. The name change makes it clear that you have passed to your Facebook friends and anyone searching for you.

Once a Facebook account has been memorialized, it will not come up in ads, in suggested friends for “People You May Know”, or birthday notifications.

Keep in mind that it’s not possible to un-memorialize an account, which we describe in further detail later.

2nd – Setting Up FB Memorialization Settings

From the FB site, look under the “Settings”, where you will find “Memorialization Settings.” under the General Account Settings

FB Memorialization setting

Once you get into this section, you will find the listing where you can select someone to be responsible for managing your account once you are gone. Once you select someone as your Legacy contact, that person will receive a message that they have been selected.

FB Memorial setting

To be clear, A legacy contact will not have total autonomy over your page’s content. A legacy contact is sort of an administrator to help other friends and loved ones keep your memory alive. You may appoint someone on your friend list as a legacy contact at any time. They’ll be notified that you chose them. It’s not currently possible to add someone as a legacy contact if you aren’t friends on Facebook.

What if you’re chosen as a legacy contact and don’t want to be one? Send your friend a message or talk to them in person. The two of you can come up with another friend capable of being a legacy contact or another solution. Not everyone is comfortable with that kind of responsibility, so don’t take offense, if someone you choose tells you they rather not be your legacy contact.

FB memorial download

One other thing to keep in mind when setting up a legacy contact, FB will give you the option to allow Data Archive Permission. If you check the box, then the person you select to be your legacy contact will be able to download a copy of info from FB that would include posts, photos, videos and info from the About section of my profile, which might be content that wasn’t originally visible to your legacy contact. However, Messages WILL NOT be included in this download if you allow it. 

3rd – Delete FB Account Once You Are Gone 

If instead of memorializing the FB account, you just want it gone once your gone, you will find that choice in the same area as the memorialization.

FB Delete after death

In this section, you can tell FB that once they have been notified that you have passed, that you wish for your account to be permanently deleted. Keep in mind that FB does not get any formal notifications of the government that people have passed, so someone you know will need to submit the notification of your passing for FB to do what you are requesting.

4th – What If You are A Legacy Contact

So there is the other side of this equation. What if you are asked to be a legacy contact. What are you responsible for when someone dies?

As a legacy contact, you’re able to:

  • Change the person’s profile picture and cover photo.
  • Write a pinned post on the timeline.
  • Respond to new friend requests.
  • Change who can see and who can post tributes. Tributes are posts that add to the memorial of the person.
  • Delete tribute posts.
  • Change who can see posts that your loved one is tagged in.
  • Remove tags of your loved one which someone else has posted.
  • If the account holder 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.

So that doesn’t give you free reign over the account. You are just the manager of the account.

Final Thought 

I know the subject of dying isn’t easy to discuss, but it is something that is better to happen now when you can control the message and what happens. Or you can ignore it and hope, while under a difficult situation someone close to you figures it out. No one can tell you if memorializing or deleting your FB account is right, that is the choice each person has to make. There is no wrong answer. 


How To: Set Up A Legacy Contact on FB


24 Yrs. of professional experience in Technology. Experience with technology implementation and systems management at numerous 5 Star Hotels, and Stadiums across North America. Head of Tech Geek and More since 2009


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