Facebook announced that it is altering the way it handles profiles of people who die. In the past, it has only let friends of the deceased user view the profile, but now will keep the privacy settings the way the person had them. In other words, if you have everything set to public now, and you die, it will remain public.
“Over the past several months, we’ve been thinking about and working on better ways for people to remember loved ones,” write Facebook’s Chris Price and Alex DiSclafani. “As we continue to think through each aspect of memorialization, we ask ourselves questions that have no easy answers: How might people feel? Are we honoring the wishes and legacy of the person who passed away? Are we serving people who are grieving the loss of a loved one as best we can?”
“Based on conversations inspired by these questions, we’ve decided to make an important change to how we preserve legacies on Facebook,” they add. “Up to now, when a person’s account was memorialized, we restricted its visibility to friends-only. This meant that people could no longer see the account or any of its content unless they were Facebook friends with the person who passed away. Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person’s content as-is. This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy. We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.”
Remember those “look back” videos Facebook launched for its ten-year anniversary a couple weeks ago? They’re also now offering users a way to see their deceased loves ones’ “look back” videos. This comes after “many” requests to do so. If this is something you’d like to do, there’s a form here.