The BBC highlights another story of anguish caused by Facebook’s current policy of closing access to memorialised profiles.
In this case, Louise Palmer was prevented from accessing her daughter Becky’s profile after her death. Their short video tells her story. Louise mention Facebook’s new legacy contact feature (still U.S. only):
I can see another side to it […] not everybody would want family, however close, to be able to access their private messages after they die. I think what [Facebook] are doing now is giving people the ability to give somebody else that right after they’ve died, or not, as the case may be. I think that’s a good thing, but why only in America?
Watch the full video here.
It’s only a matter of time before the legacy contact feature rolls out to other countries, but every day that passes is a missed opportunity. At Facebook’s scale, even something that affects a small percentage of users is still a massive number of people.
My main concern is whether Facebook will highlight the new feature to users. I doubt they will. I doubt Facebook’s product teams are overly keen about broaching the subject of your own mortality when you next log in. This means that most people won’t know the legacy contact feature exists and we’ll be hearing stories like Louise’s for a long time to come.
From my personal experience, many Facebook users don’t know how the existing privacy features work, despite heavy advertising and in-app tutorials from Facebook themselves. I wonder if we, as a community, need to step in and raise awareness of the new feature when it comes to the UK.