If you have thought about what will happen when you pass away, you’ve probably already considered actions like creating a will, electing a power of attorney or establishing a business succession plan.
One thing you may not have considered is what will happen to your social media accounts – personal and business. It may seem trivial, but for many of us, social media has become a big part of our daily lives. Here we provide details of adding a ‘legacy contact’ to your personal Facebook account or if you are the ‘face’ of your business, what you should do if you pass away unexpectedly.
Aussies are extremely active users of social media, and Facebook in particular, with around 17 million of us using the platform every month. Having a plan in place for when you pass away can help avoid misuse of your accounts, while offering a way for your friends, family and business associates to celebrate your life.
What will happen to my Facebook account after I die?
Rather than leave things to chance, it’s important to ensure someone close to you knows to notify Facebook that you have passed away. Otherwise, Facebook will eventually detect your passing and implement its default action, which is to ‘memorialise’ the account.
This means your profile name will change to ‘Remembering [your name]’ and you’ll no longer appear in birthday reminders, ads or suggestions for People You May Know. Your content will stay on Facebook and remain visible to the people you originally shared it with.
If you’d prefer your account to be deleted when you die, you can do this through your General Account Settings or a Facebook ‘verified’ family member can request to have your account removed entirely.
It can be distressing to see a deceased relative, friend or business associate appear in your timeline if their account has not been appropriately memorialised or deleted, so we recommend taking action sooner rather than later.
Choosing a legacy contact
Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is to choose a ‘legacy contact’ for your account. This is someone you nominate to look after your account if you have passed away. You can add your legacy contact in the Privacy and Settings on your account.
That doesn’t mean they’ll have your login details, be able to read your private messages or remove and add friends. Importantly, no one is allowed to log in and use your account like a regular Facebook account once you’re gone. Your legacy contact can simply manage your memorialised page so that friends and family can continue to share memories.
It means they can respond to new friend requests, pin a tribute to your profile or update your profile picture and cover photo. If a memorialised account has an area for tributes, your legacy contact will be able to decide who can see it and who can post tributes. More importantly, your legacy contact can request the removal of your account at an appropriate time.
Without a legacy contact, your loved ones will have no way of making changes to your memorialised account.
What about my Facebook business page?
As we know, Facebook is not limited to personal profiles. Most businesses these days have a business page on Facebook – and each of these pages requires a personal profile to be its ‘admin’. Many business owners also have a Facebook ‘group’ for communicating with their team and making announcements to clients, customers and their business networks.
For business owners, whether you plan to wrap up your business, sell it or hand over the reins to an heir or a business partner when you pass away, it’s essential to ensure that someone you trust will be able to step in and appropriately deal with your digital assets. Presumably, you already have a nominated second ‘admin’ appointed who can take control of the account.
Either way, if the business will continue to operate after you’re gone, it’s absolutely crucial that you have two or more ‘admins’ assigned to manage your Facebook company page or a trusted legacy contact who can nominate another trusted person to be added as admin to manage the future of your business account.
Take a moment now to check your personal Facebook account and nominate a ‘verified’ family member or next of kin who can notify Facebook in the event of you passing away, so your page can be memorialised. For Facebook business accounts, take a moment now to ensure you have multiple trusted admins.
If you need help managing your social media accounts, including preparing content and a regular posting schedule, we’d be pleased to help. Please give us a call on 07 5477 0197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more.
At Bold! Marketing Communication, we use best practice methods, including those recommended by Facebook. This provides our clients with peace of mind that their Facebook business accounts are managed correctly on a day to day basis, as well as during any business change or succession scenarios.
For more information about memorialised accounts or legacy contacts, you can read Facebook’s Help Centre on the topic. You can also review your General Account Settings through the drop-down menu at the top right of your profile.