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What about your Digital Legacy?

What about your Digital Legacy?

The world’s most popular social network has begun allowing its members to designate someone, referred to as a ‘legacy contact’ to manage parts of the account on a members death. This feature was rolled out in the United States in February of this year. And, it is now possible for Facebook users in the UK to appoint a post mortem representative who will be able to decide what will happen to their profile after their death.

The so-called ‘legacy contact’ feature allows the appointed representative to write a final post and update photos, as well as be able to download the deceased’s public profile as an archive. However, the representative will not be given access to private messages and will not be able to edit what the deceased has already posted. In addition they will not be able to delete the whole account. By placing such restrictions on the representative, Facebook is aiming to respect the wishes of the deceased while being sensitive to their family and friends.

To select your ‘legacy contact’ – go to Settings > choose Security > then Legacy Contact at the bottom of the page. There you can designate an existing Facebook friend which will grant that person permission to download an archive of your data, or choose to have your account deleted after death. On making this selection the appointed representative will be sent an email notifying them of your choice. So, either they will accept the appointment or they can tell you that they don’t wish to act giving you the option to select someone else. It is important to note that only one person can be chosen although, it is possible to amend your choice at any time.

Should you not wish to appoint a ‘legacy contact’ it is also possible to instruct Facebook to permanently delete the account on death. In cases where a digital heir is appointed in the will, Facebook will designate that person. If no action is taken, Facebook will simply freeze the account and leave posts and pictures at the privacy settings you determined – a process it calls memorialization.

Making plans for a digital afterlife may seem morbid but with technology evolving in the way it has over recent years, considering what should happen to your digital media is growing in importance especially as it gives family members the ability to retrieve sentimental material which could otherwise be lost.

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