Facebook’s memorialization feature is designed to safeguard the digital identity of deceased individuals. Recently, a friend of mine passed away from COVID-19, and we had a startling experience on Facebook. One of our mutual friends received a notification suggesting that our departed friend had made a new post on Facebook. After investigating, we discovered that a family member had posted funeral arrangements using our friend’s account. This incident reminded us that a person’s social media presence can persist even after their passing, accessible to those with the appropriate credentials.
To protect one’s Facebook account and limit access to authorized individuals, it is crucial to ensure its security, especially if friends or family members have access to the account holder’s devices. In the event of a loved one’s death, there are two options for their Facebook account: memorialization or deletion. When someone dies, their account can be memorialized. In this state, friends and family can continue to post tributes and messages on the person’s wall, while the profile remains visible. However, no new posts or comments can be added.
To request the memorialization or deletion of a deceased person’s account, individuals can visit the Facebook Help Center and click on the relevant option. The requester must provide documentation proving they are an immediate family member or the executor of the account holder’s estate. Facebook will review the request and memorialize the account if satisfied with the evidence of the person’s passing and the requester’s authority. Additionally, Facebook will not provide login information for another person’s account, even after their death, as this action violates company policies.
To prepare for the future, individuals can take a few steps regarding their own Facebook account. First, they should ensure their contact information is up to date, so that Facebook can notify loved ones in case of any incidents. Next, they can assign a trusted friend or family member as their legacy contact. This person can manage the main profile once it is memorialized. Lastly, individuals should consider whether they want their account to be memorialized or deleted after their own passing.
Once an account is memorialized, changes occur to ensure respectful remembrance. The word “Remembering” appears on the profile, and memories can be shared on the memorialized timeline, depending on the privacy settings. Content shared by the deceased person remains on Facebook, visible to their intended audience. Memorialized profiles do not appear in public spaces such as suggestions, ads, or birthday reminders. No one can log into a memorialized account, and accounts without a legacy contact cannot be altered. Lastly, pages with a sole admin whose account is memorialized will be removed from Facebook.
In today’s digital age, the death of a loved one comes with emotional and practical complexities. Memorializing a Facebook account goes beyond a digital formality; it is an act of remembrance and protection against unauthorized use. This feature provides a secure space for grieving individuals to honor their loved ones, while ensuring that the account remains dedicated to remembrance and devoid of new posts or comments. Memorialization also serves as a measure of digital security, preserving the departed’s identity and guarding against potential misuse. Facebook’s policies strictly prohibit any login to another person’s account, even if they have passed away.
While some may find the idea of memorializing a Facebook account unusual, it is a necessary provision in our digital age. It combines the human need for remembrance with the practicality of securing one’s digital identity after death. By memorializing an account, we uphold the dignity and memory of the departed, offering comfort and closure to those left behind. In this collective digital mourning space, connections can still be made, memories can be shared, and solace can be found.