We often think about what happens to our physical possessions in the form of a will but have you considered what happens to your digital possessions? One way you can make a plan for your digital presence is to utilise a feature on Facebook called a ‘Legacy Contact‘. So, what IS a Legacy Contact and why should you have one?
A ‘Legacy Contact’ on Facebook is someone you have appointed to take care of your account when it’s memorialised. A memorialised account is a place where loved ones and friends can share memories and moments after you have passed away. It is different from the way Facebook accounts have operated in the past when they were frozen and remained inactive, occasionally floating into your news feed. This allows for more clear action on your behalf.
There are two options: The first is to appoint a ‘Legacy Contact’ OR you have the option to permanently delete the account from Facebook. If the account is not deleted and is memorialised, it should see the word ‘Remembering’ next to the person’s name.
In relation to privacy settings, what is shared and shareable will vary based on the settings you have chosen so whatever content was shared before the account was memorialised with remain shared. Memorialised accounts will not show up in ads for ‘People you may know’ or in Birthday reminders.
A ‘Legacy Contact’ has the option to write a pinned post, perhaps information about a memorial service or some last words. You need to make sure that your timeline and tagging settings allow others to post or your legacy contact won’t be able to write a pinned post. They can also respond to existing friend requests, update your profile picture, and request the permanent removal of your account. In settings, you can determine whether or not your legacy contact will have the option to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Facebook (Data Archive Permission).
Things a ‘Legacy Contact’ CAN’T do:
- Log into your account
- Remove or change past posts, photos, and anything else shared on your timeline
- Read your messages
- Remove any of your friends
- Make new friend requests
- Add a new legacy contact to your account
How to change your settings:
- Log-in to Facebook
- Click the drop-down arrow on the right side of the page
- Click ‘Settings’
- In ‘General Account Settings’ you will see ‘Manage Account’ and click ‘Edit’ on the right
- Type in someone’s name and click ‘Add’ (they will be notified but it is also recommended you discuss with the person you choose face-to-face
- Scroll to ‘Data Archive Permission’ and determine whether or not you will allow a copy to be downloaded (messages will not be included)
- If you prefer to have your account deleted instead of appointing a Legacy Contact, you can ‘Request Account Deletion’
There you go. Done and dusted and now you can go back to living your wonderful life with one more organisation box ticked. Well done!