Facebook launched its legacy contact feature in Australia, which allows users to choose a person who will manage their account after their death.
The new feature, which has been available in the US since February, was rolled out in Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday.
It complements the option to memorialise an account, wherein family members of the deceased can request that their loved one’s Facebook profile is changed to a “remembering” status or shut down entirely.
Under the new legacy contact feature, users can select a person who can pin a post on their profile; update their profile picture and cover photo; and respond to friend requests.
However, the person appointed to manage the account cannot log into the account of the deceased user, view private messages, or edit anything from the past.
“It’s incredibly hard to lose someone, especially so suddenly,” said Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch.
“We wanted to be able to answer by giving people a choice,” she said.
“And then we also wanted to better support families who were grieving, because we would hear things like, from a mum whose daughter passed away and they wanted to be able to add a couple of cousins who weren’t yet connected to the daughter’s account.”
The move comes after an Australian family was left devastated when Facebook deleted their loved one’s social media page. It was reported that Facebook removed the profile of Brisbane man Daniel Cook following requests from “verified immediate family members”.
The incident prompted Cook’s partner to start a petition for the reinstatement of the page. She noted that the page was a place where his children could go to view all the memories they have made with him.
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