How Facebook lays out privacy when you die

This is a clear case of empathy for its users.

Facebook built these features to enhance empathy amongst its users. (SOURCE: TECHCRUNCH)

Death is for every human being,yet have you given much thought to what happens to the data concerning a person after death on social media?

Back in High School, I had a friend from primary school who died (may his soul rest in perfect peace), I kept on wondering what happened to his Facebook account cause I was expecting to see anniversary posts, facebook’s way of bringing back memories, but I saw none. Unknown to me, Facebook has a unique way of handling these things.

When someone passes away, once Facebook is informed, the word “remembering” appears above the name of the person’s profile and no one can sign into the account,even if anyone knows the password to your account. This according to Facebook’s Director of Global Policy Management, prevents anyone from reading conversations in the dead person’s account, even with parental consent private communications are not to be shared or seen.


However, there is a legacy contact. A Legacy contact is a friend you select in your manage account settings, although they are not informed until the person is “memoralized”, can change the dead person’s profile picture, respond to friend requests or have the account removed but cannot log into the account.

Now to my deceased friend, I was not seeing his anniversary posts because Facebook tries to minimize the impact caused by losing a friend or loved one by no longer sending reminders concerning them to your wall, in doing so they avoid creating an unwanted experience about having to think about death.

Facebook built these features to enhance empathy amongst its users mainly due to a sense of deep responsibility, towards the impact such incidences have on our lives.