Here’s what you need to know…

New technology has changed the way we experience loss and grief. Once upon a time, you might receive a letter, or a phone call to notify you of a death amongst your family or friends. Today, almost instantly, a Facebook post can be shared a thousand times over, informing acquaintances your loved one may not have seen in decades that they have passed away.

Facebook’s director of global policy management, Monika Bickert has revealed that Facebook will now stop sending birthday reminders once it knows someone has died, and accounts will automatically be turned into “memorials,” inaccessible to new logins.

Here’s what you can do to ensure your wishes regarding your Facebook account are carried out when you die: You can elect a “legacy contact” who has permission to download an archive of photos from your profile after your death, but they cannot edit those archives except for deleting the profile. The Legacy Contact can also change your profile picture and accept friend requests on your behalf.

However, they will not be able to access your Private Messages.

That may seem like a strange rule but it exists to protect the privacy of all those who have engaged in private messages with you. It keeps those messages just that… private.


Social media has provided a way for family, friends and acquaintances alike to share their collective grief following the loss of a loved one in a very public manner. For better or for worse, social media has forever changed the way we share the highlights of our lives… and the news of our death.