Facebook will let its users decide what to do with its account when they die.
The new feature — a marked break in how the site deals with the accounts of those who have passed away — will allow users to appoint a “Facebook heir” who will look after the account and will be allowed to make certain changes. They will also be able to choose to have their account deleted entirely.
The heirs will be able to pin posts, respond to new friend requests and update profile pictures. But they will be restricted from other changes, including creating new posts or deleting photos.
Before, Facebook opted just to freeze members’ accounts when it learned that they had died. That meant that the page’s stayed online, but couldn’t be changed. If users don’t opt to leave a digital will, the company will freeze the profile in a process called “memorialization”, leaving everything with the privacy settings that were left when users died.
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
Around 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with the site estimating in September last year that users had so far put up more than 250 billion images. That’s 4,000 photos uploaded every second and around 4 per cent of all photos ever taken, according to a study by Nokia.
Facebook’s logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colour blind. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue," said Zuckerberg in an interview with the New Yorker. The colour is so popular that Facebook’s campus store even sells nail polish in the exact shade named ‘social butterfly blue’.
Zuckerberg's famously low-key wardrobe (either a grey t-shirt or a hoodie) is so that the CEO saves time deciding what to wear each day. However, Zuckerberg is known to dress up when the occasion demands it. For a 2011 event with Barack Obama he showed up in a suit, with the president introducing himself by saying: “I’m Barack Obama and I’m the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie.”
In July 2006 Zuckerberg turned down a $1 billion offer for the site from Yahoo. He was 22 years old at the time and owned 25 per cent of the company. Zuckerberg reportedly turned it down by saying “I don't know what I could do with the money. I'd just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.” He definitely made the right choice: Facebook is now valued at $135 billion.
A YouGov poll claimed that three-quarter of UK Facebook users' photos showed someone drinking or inebriated. However, the poll did ask users to estimate the number of boozy snaps themselves, and like all things on Facebook, there might have been an element of exaggeration involved.
Facebook operates a bounty hunter program – for bugs. Like many other big technology companies Facebook offers cash rewards to security researchers who point out flaws in the site’s code. The minimum payout is $500 and the largest prize to date has been $33,500.
More than a third of divorce filings in 2011 referenced Facebook, said a survey from UK-based legal firm Divorce Online. The exact figures may be an estimate, but with just under 8 trillion Facebook messages sent in 2013 it’s certain that a substantial body of evidence is to be found on the social network.
Zuckerberg isn’t much of a Twitter fan. Despite having nearly three hundred thousand followers on the service he’s only tweeted 19 times - once in 2012 and the rest in 2009. Although Facebook dwarfs twitter in terms of active users (1 billion compared with 200 million by some accounts) the micro-blogging site handles breaking news better. Facebook has introduced trending topics and hashtags to counter this.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Iceland decided to rewrite their constitution using Facebook to solicit suggestions from citizens. Unfortunately, despite this forward thinking approach, the document was killed by politicians in mid-2013 for various (mostly technical) reasons.
You can browse Facebook upside down. Facebook currently supports more than 70 different languages – including English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down). Check the bottom of the column on the right of your newsfeed and click your current language to change!
The new feature is thought to be a response to family’s wishes to use Facebook profiles to remember their owners.
The option will be rolled out to users in the US on Thursday, with it expanding to different places after that.
Users will choose the heirs in Facebook’s security settings. Only one user can be chosen.
If users don’t choose a Facebook heir but name a digital heir in a normal will, Facebook will honour that choice.
It is an attempt to walk the line between protecting the privacy of the people who own profiles, and allowing grieving friends and families to access the site, as the Wall Street Journal notes. That is a balance that many other internet companies have to tread as they decide how to deal with the accounts and data of those users that have died.
Google introduced a similar system of “digital heirs” in 2013, allowing users to decide what will happen with users’ data after they pass away or become inactive for some time.
“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife–in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” wrote Google product manager Andreas Tuerk in a blog post at the time.Reuse content