If you’re worried about your social media presence after you pass away, don’t worry — Facebook has your back.
Facebook announced Feb. 12 that users can officially appoint a “legacy contact” — a family member or close friend who can maintain their page after they die. The legacy contact has the power to write statuses, respond to friend requests, update the profile and cover photos or delete the account, but cannot log into the account, remove or edit old posts, comments or photos on the Timeline, read private messages or delete friends, according to a Facebook newsroom blog post.
The memorialized account will be denoted simply with the word “Remembering.”
UF biology sophomore Hannah Bailey said after dealing with a family emergency last year and watching people post on the person’s wall regularly, she and her sister exchanged passwords in November and promised to delete each other’s accounts should anything happen to them.
“If we’re not alive, there’s no reason to keep it going,” Bailey said.
However, 19-year-old Corey Ashmeade said Facebook is the perfect platform to make sure his legacy lives on.
“It’s kind of a way to make sure someone still knows who you are and can still look you up,” the UF economics and political science sophomore said.
Ashmeade said he would appoint a public relations professional to manage his account. His twin brother, Craig Ashmeade, said he would entrust his account to his brother so he could delete it. The twins agreed that best friends wouldn’t be a good idea.
“Most likely, there would be some obscene things, even though I passed away,” said Craig Ashmeade, a UF electrical engineering sophomore.
Jeanna Mastrodicasa, the associate vice president of UF Agriculture and Natural Resources, said Facebook probably provided this feature in response to demand, rather than having users provide their password to someone else. She said this transfer of power just formalizes the process.
“I think the actual reality is that this has been going on for a long time.”
[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 2/19/2015 under the headline “Choose your Facebook legacy contact"]