This article was published on February 21, 2014

Facebook updates its policy to ensure deceased users’ privacy settings will remain unchanged

Facebook updates its policy to ensure deceased users’ privacy settings will remain unchanged

Earlier this year, Josh Berlin posted an emotional video onto YouTube seeking help from Facebook to gain access to his son’s “Look Back” video. His son died in 2012. The company soon caught wind of it and helped fulfill the request. Recognizing that there needed to be a better way to help people remember loved ones, Facebook looked back at its policy and decided that new ways were needed to help you remember your loved ones.

Chris Price and Alex DiSclafani, two members of Facebook’s Community Operations team, said in a post that, previously, when a person’s account was memorialized, it was only visible to friends. This obviously restricted who could see the account and content. However, beginning today, the visibility of the deceased user’s content will be maintained “as-is”. Facebook says that it was done in order to keep it in a manner consistent with the user’s expectations of privacy.

Memorialization is a process whereby Facebook doesn’t allow anyone to log into that user’s account. Among the listed features of these accounts is that you can still communicate with that user through private messages, and view their content.

However, the privacy setting update isn’t the only thing Facebook is doing to improve remembrance of loved ones. The social networking company has received multiple requests similar to Berlin’s asking for their loved one’s “A Look Back” video. Price and DiScalfani says that they’re glad to be able to help fulfill those requests and if you’re looking to have one made, you can visit Facebook’s site to inquire more.

“A Look Back” is the video tool the company set up to mark its tenth anniversary earlier this month. It’s a short one minute video that pulls in the 20 biggest moments of a user’s history on the social network.

Bereavement on social networks is a complicated matter because the technology has made these sites memorials and tributes to loved ones. After all, you’re sharing more than just status updates to Facebook — you’re posting videos, photos, notes — memories between you, your friends, family, and more. Simply deleting them isn’t doing their life any justice.

Facebook says that it will have more to share in the “coming months” when it comes to helping people decide how they want to be remembered and what they want to leave behind for loved ones.

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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