Facebook and how to memorialise your social media account

June 18, 2021
Blue facebook icon with 3 notification tag
end of life planning
anticipate life
supporting others
Leanne Russell

Recently a Facebook birthday reminder popped up. Sadly it was for a friend who had passed away many years ago and yet every year, Facebook kindly reminds me of his birthday. Perhaps not such a bad thing as I remember the fun and laughs we had spending time with him and his wife. But it did get me wondering - what can you put in place now with social media accounts, like Facebook, for after you’re gone?  

I was a latecomer to Facebook. From the chatter around the water cooler at the time, it seemed that everyone had it. I didn’t even know what it was, although I knew what MySpace was, courtesy of my then teenage son and his friends. Years later, when I was looking to travel and move overseas, I felt the need to create a Facebook account. Family and friends could experience my adventures through my photos and posts (& Mum would be reassured that she knew where I was).

But what if something terrible happened? What would happen to my Facebook account? Would it just exist forever, with the Ivy Cat post to be my final legacy ? Birthday reminders popping up in my friends’ notifications as a continuous loop for years to come? Distant friends thinking how rude of me not responding to their greetings and messages?    

However often you use or post to Facebook, it is always a good idea to have a plan of what to do with your account. This applies to all social media accounts.

Memorialising your account

Memorialising your account keeps your account active after you pass away. It is a place where family and friends can keep your memory alive. The first change will be that “Remembering” will be put in front of your name. This indicates to your friends, and in any searches, that you have passed. However, once an account has been memorialised, it will not come up in the Friend Suggestions or “People you may know” or birthday notifications.

Under your account, go to SETTINGS & PRIVACY, then SETTINGS. Under the General Account Settings,  you will find Memorialisation Settings. The first thing you need to do is appoint a Legacy Contact. This person will be responsible for your account, to help friends and family keep your memory alive, even if only for a short while.

Nominate a Legacy Contact

Your Legacy Contact is the administrator of your Facebook account after you have passed away. They can, and only after you pass, do the following:

  • Manage tribute posts on your profile
  • Decide who can post and who can see posts, deleting posts and removing tags
  • Request the removal of your account
  • Respond to new friend requests
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo

You can choose a Legacy Contact at any time, but they must be someone on your Facebook friend list. The person will be notified that they have been nominated. It’s always a good idea to speak with, or message, your friend first to see if they are ok with the nomination. We suggest you use the same person you have as your Nominee for your Anticipate Life account.  

Account clean up

A regular cleanup of your account is recommended. You can add or remove friends, delete photos or pictures, change or edit your personal information.

Older relatives or friends may need help with with their account cleanup too. Encourage them to nominate their Facebook Legacy Contact at the same time.

Deleting a memorialised Facebook account

Alternatively you can choose to have your Facebook account automatically deleted. This option is also in the memorialisation settings. If you want your memorialised account deleted after a period of time, make sure your Legacy Contact or an immediate relative is aware of your wishes. This is something you can be included in your Anticipate Life digital locker.

Sometimes you may need to delete the account. For example, if you are a Legacy Contact and managing the account becomes too much, or perhaps there is some other reason you wish to delete an account. You will need to contact Facebook and provide proof of your authority and relationship to the person, as well as proof of passing. Facebook are quite specific in their requirements.

Note that Facebook does not provide login information with anyone, not even the Legacy Contact person. If you want to share passwords with a loved one, we highly recommend a password manager, such as LastPass or 1Password.

Your Facebook account, just like any of your social media, should be included in your final wishes. Anticipate Life provides the perfect storage place for specifying your instructions. If you haven’t already signed up for an account, you can join us HERE.