Will your Facebook page outlive you?

Did you know that Americans 65 and over are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Over 60% say they are on social media on a regular basis – often reporting on or keeping up with their grandkids.   Have you ever thought about what happens to your posts and pictures after you die?  If not, you should. Facebook will delete or alter an account when requested by a family member, but unless you have made your directives clear to Facebook, it’s a more complicated process than had you done it yourself before your death.  It can be disconcerting to many (especially family members) that your posts and personal information are floating in cyber-space without the ability to control access. Having your “life” go on in social media also opens your name and account to fraud and unwanted posts..  Certainly, many will find it comforting to be able to visit your page after you’re gone, but what do you want?

The easiest way to solve this problem is to make sure a loved one or loves ones have the password to your page. (And if you have opted in to two-step authentication, they will need your phone AND your phone password.)  Your trusted loved one can delete or “freeze” your page upon your death.  Or,  Facebook allows you to make the decision today.  Go to the upside down triangle at the far right of the blue header on your page, click on it and drop down to “Settings.”   Go to “Memorialization Settings” and make your decisions. “Memorialization allows friends and family to post remembrances and honor a deceased user’s memory, while protecting the account and respecting the privacy of the deceased,” says Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes* “Also, we do honor requests from close family members to deactivate the account, which removes the profile and associated information from the site.”  In addition, Facebook allows you to choose a “Legacy” contact – a trusted loved one who will take control of your page upon your death and act according to your wishes.  Make sure you tell your legacy contact that they have this responsibility upon your death.  Do this on each of your social media accounts.

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  • Quote by Andrew Noyes is excerpted from “16 Things Smart People Do For End of Life Planning” by Kimberly Hiss for Reader’s Digest