Facebook will from Thursday allow users to appoint an "online executor" of their profile to decide what happens to it after they die.

The "Legacy Contact" will be able to administer the page after you pass away by writing one last post and even approving new friend requests.

The Legacy Contact will also be able to update your cover and profile photo meaning you have no say in what your final image will be, even if the image is embarrassing.

Facebook said that the feature will work in the same way as a real-life executor of a will, only for your online profile.

The Legacy Contact will be able to close down your profile, keep it frozen as a memorial or leave it as it is.

 However it risks confusing people who may think that their loved one is still alive if they respond to a friend request.

Other issues which may arise are when family members cannot reach Legacy Contacts - or if they are ex-husbands or ex-wives with an axe to grind.

The announcement was mocked on US TV and on NBC’s Today show they joked that people's profiles will be updated as "dead".

Facebook, which has 890 million users worldwide, said that it was responding to hundreds of thousands of requests for this kind of feature.

Like other social media companies it is trying to respect the wishes of the dead whilst also being sensitive to their families.

Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch said: "We heard from family members who wanted to post funeral information or download and preserve photos.

"We realised there was more we could do."

Until now when family or friends told Facebook that a user had died, the company verified the death and ‘memorialized’ the account.

This meant that it could be viewed but not edited, Miss Callison-Burch said.

 But starting on Thursday users choose a Legacy Contact from their friends list under the security settings menu and they can take over.

When somebody dies Facebook will put the tagline ‘Remembering’ over the user's name and notify the appointed Legacy Contact.

The Legacy Contact can then download a copy of what they have shared on Facebook, though this does not include private messages.

The Legacy Contact will not be able to log into a person’s account and remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on a person’s Timeline.

They will also not be able to delete friends, Facebook said.

The Wall St Journal reported that the changes are being rolled out to US users first with the rest of the world following suit.

Source : The Telegraph



Post a Comment