The ‘AfterLike’: Facebook’s new “Legacy Contact” feature keeps users “checked-in” long after they “check out”

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By Dylan S. Goldman

02/15/2015

If you have ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook page when you die, wonder no more: Facebook’s new ‘Legacy Contact‘ feature grants your memory- and home page – entrance into a sort-of virtual ‘afterlife’.

Three days ago, the social networking giant Facebook introduced the Legacy Contact feature, which gives users the ability to designate the friend or family member they wish to manage their personal page in the event of their death. Until recently, users only had one of two options for a deceased person’s Timeline – memorialize it, or request that Facebook delete it.

FB Legacy Graveyard

GRAPHIC BY DSGOLDMANMEDIA

Despite having mixed feelings about the feature, Michele Goddard, 35, a Realtor with one of the leading brokerages in the Metro Atlanta area, can see the logic behind the feature when relating Timelines to Real Estate.

“[In] the same way that our personal homes reflect who we are and what we like, our Facebook pages are a virtual ‘home’ to some of our emotions, our daily lives, our prides and joys, our memories and what we would want people to know about us years down the road,” Goddard explained. “[It] makes a lot of sense, since our pages are a part of our history.”

According to Facebook’s announcement, Legacy Contacts can do the following:

  • Post announcements or messages at the top of the memorialized Timeline
  • Manage new friend requests
  • Update both the deceased’s profile and Timeline pictures

“Our Facebook pages are a part of us, showing glimpses of our lives at any given moment.” – Michele Goddard, Realtor

The feature also protects users’ privacy. After the account is memorialized, it can no longer be logged into, nor do Legacy Contacts have access to a user’s private messages.

“[Although] it will allow people in the future to have some insight about the people that we [were] when we are alive – personalities, likes, dislikes, personal history, [et cetera] – seeing activity from a deceased friend’s page is eerie,” said Goddard. “While I understand the sentiment, it can totally stir-up emotions for some about those who have long-been buried.”


Last year, the Washington Post reported that one-fifth of the global population uses Facebook on a monthly basis. As of December of 2014, Facebook counted an average of 1.35 billion active monthly users, 890 million of whom are active daily. In fact, according to Pew Research’s 2014 “Social Media Update“, 71% of the 3-billion-and-counting people who use the Internet are on Facebook.

 

 

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