When you die in real life, your social media accounts remain—often as a digital mourning space for friends and family. Facebook is a particularly prominent example of that, and now the company is rolling out a new Tributes feature that lets users leave messages in a dedicated section of a memorialized account (that is, one created by a dead person) separate from the profile’s Timeline.
TechCrunch reports that some users who had designated legacy contacts were alerted of the new feature yesterday. Basically, Facebook’s Help Center describes the Tributes section as a place where “friends and family can post stories, commemorate a birthday, share memories, and more.” The feature isn’t available to everyone just yet, however, so it depends on what area you live in.
Depending on privacy settings, friends and family can currently post on the Timelines of memorialized accounts, as well as comment on posts made before the account was memorialized. The Tributes feature seems designed to create a more clearly defined space for these post-mortem messages.
This is all nice and good and probably helpful for the mourning process, but it also requires the still-living to possibly think about what to do with their Facebook profile in case they die. Like, did you even know you can set legacy contacts? (Basically, your Facebook friend who looks after your account after you die.)
Of course, there are limitations as to what a legacy contact can do. While they can write a final pinned post saying you died and where the funeral is, they thankfully cannot read your DMs, log into your account, or add/remove friends. They can, however, update your profile pic to the best or worst selfie you ever took—so choose wisely.
Legacy contacts will also have a bit more control when it comes to Tribute posts. For instance, they’ll reportedly be able to untag you from unflattering posts (because there’s always that one binch in your friend group). They will also have the power to decide who can see and post Tributes, or delete posts. And, if you have Timeline Review enabled, they can disable it.
So if you haven’t designated a legacy contact yet, you might want to start drawing up a bracket of your most loyal and social media savvy friends who won’t stab your memory in the back. Cue Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You.”