Something sad and scary happened to a friend of mine lately. Hackers got their hands on her deceased sister’s Facebook account and a lot of precious memories were lost. There’s a step you can take to protect your Facebook account after you’re gone. Facebook allows you to designate a legacy contact for your account, should you pass away. This person will be able to do things like post a goodbye message to your Facebook friends.

Legacy contacts can also respond to new friend requests and update your profile picture and cover photos.  That contact can also download all of the material you’ve shared to Facebook, such as photos and videos.

Facebook may also permit additional capabilities for these contacts in the future.

For now, your legacy contact cannot log into the account, change or remove posts, read private messages or delete friends.

Here’s how to designate your legacy contact.  Click the drop-down arrow in the top right of your Facebook page and select Settings.

Under General select Manage Account.

 

Choose Legacy Contact.

 

You can then select a Facebook friend to be your contact or select to have your account deleted when you pass away.

That person will be notified when your account is memorialized and you can choose to send that person a message right away. You can also choose to permit that person to download your data archive of photos, videos and posts when you’re gone. That person will not have access to your account until it is memorialized. To learn how to memorialize an account, click here.

Your legacy contact will be able to moderate the posts shared to the new tributes section by changing tagging settings, removing tags and editing who can post and see posts.

This allows them to control posts they feel might be upsetting for your friends and family.  They’ll also be able to update the your profile picture and cover photo as well as pin a post to the top of your profile.

Those under 18 can’t set legacy contacts, but parents who have lost children under 18 can request to become their legacy contact.

If you’d prefer that your account be deleted after you’re gone, you can request that your account be deleted after death.

Be very careful when selecting that option. For reasons unknown to me, Facebook has that sitting right on top of the option to go ahead and deactivate your account now.