Planning Your Digital Legacy

facebookk marie

There’s a growing awareness of our digital legacy – the online footprint we leave behind after we die. I still get birthday notifications for a Facebook friend who passed away four years ago.  While this isn’t distressing for me, I can imagine it may be for close family and friends. The family of another friend who died last year contacted me to ask if I knew how they could gain access to his Facebook account so they could keep it going as a place to honor his memory. After some googling and asking around I found the answer for them.  Things have moved on since then with the announcement last month by Facebook of a “Legacy Contact” – someone who can gain control of your account and memorialize—or delete it in the event you pass away.  Whoever you assign your legacy contact will be able to post things that appear at the top of your memorialized Timeline, and can download an archive of your photos, posts, and profile information for safe keeping.

This feature is rolling out over time, so you may not have it yet.  When it is rolled out for you, you can follow these steps to activate the feature.

  1. Go to your account Settings > Security > Legacy Contact.
  2. Then type in the name of the person you would like to make your Legacy Contact.
  3. You have the option to send them a message to let them know, but it’s not required. Otherwise, they’ll notified when Facebook becomes aware of your passing.
  4. Then select whether your Legacy Contact will have Data Archiving permission and whether or not you’d like your account to be deleted.

Have you given any thought to your digital legacy? How would you like your virtual self to live on after you are gone?