What Happens to Your Facebook Account When You Die?

I had no idea what would happen to my page or anyone’s page after death. I learned the hard way.

This is a letter I just wrote to Facebook.

What happens to your Facebook account?

“Hello. A few years ago, a very close friend passed away. Not thinking it through, I posted a request for Facebook to put “in memoriam” on his page to let everyone know that he had passed.

When I attended his funeral, his normally very nice mother was fuming at me because she had hoped to use his Facebook network to contact his friends about the funeral and about a charity event she was going to hold in his honor. But, without access to his account, she couldn’t. I was enemy number one.

Embarrassed and ashamed for not asking, thinking I was doing something nice, I contacted Facebook to reverse the issue. There was no way.

While one side of me thinks that, if I pass, I don’t want someone – especially my mother – going through my messages. (Especially the ones from you know who). If I hadn’t done that and Facebook hadn’t put the account access limitations on it, many personal messages would have been read by people. That is a violation of privacy for both parties, even if one has passed away.

I had ZERO idea that Facebook would put limitations on the account. Thankfully, most people were still able to post on his wall to share thoughts about him.

My suggestion to improve the feature is to, first, send out a message to ALL Facebook users asking them to assign a contact if they pass. Access to the account should be set by the user – while they are alive. Facebook should ask the user what they would like to give access to – contacts, messages, photos, etc. If the Facebook user doesn’t want the person to be able to read messages, they could simply give the person the ability to download contacts.”

My hope is that Facebook will read this. With the millions of users who die every year, I am sure this has come up in the past and I’m surprised the feature hasn’t been improved.

My idea-for-the-day.

Gary

I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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