Would you trust someone with your Facebook profile after you die?
When I’m dead and laid to rest, write me a status that’s the best
As if it wasn’t bad enough Facebook can now follow people from cradle to grave, now the social network wants to play a part in your after-life too. What was once simply a social novelty now offers users the option of nominating a “Legacy contact” to look after your profile after you’ve died.
Nobody wants to hand over their Facebook password at the best of times, such is the risk of the immortally funny “I love dick in my mouth” (two likes) status, or having to apologise for horrific comments left on other people’s photos. If that’s how badly friends can abuse your Facebook while you’re in the other room, imagine what could happen once you’re buried six feet below.
Maybe we’ll see a rise in beyond-the-grave catfishing, with whoever is in control of the account contacting unsuspecting Facebook friends, people you haven’t spoken to since freshers week. These people might not even realise you’re dead and end up chattering away with your profile unaware it’s not really you. We haven’t even touched on how awkward it could be if you forget to take someone off your legacy contact list, your ex for example after you break-up. Suddenly they’re able to read all those angry post-break up insults you wrote.
Hopefully, none of this will happen and you’ll choose a memorial chief who is up to the occasion. Sure, they might read your old Facebook chats but everyone loves a bit of gossip. I asked my hypothetical legacy organiser Toby what he’d do after my death and he very nobly said he’s “use it to plan charity events and stuff like that”. So it seems my memory is safe for now, though the idea of Facebook profiles outliving their owners remains pretty creepy.
Let’s be honest, when you lied about your birthday to get Facebook, you probably didn’t consider whether or not the page would still exist when you died. Facebook is a bunch of pixels and code, filled with misguided, camera-flash-in-the-profile pictures and embarrassing statuses about how people need to “keep there (sic) nose out of other peoples buisiness (sic)”. It’s the dumping ground for all your hormonal mistakes and now, it could be your gravestone. At least you can include an emoji in your last words status: #feelingdeceased.
Maybe one day, all this means is Facebook will be filled with zombies, with notifications for death anniversaries slowly beginning to out-weigh the ones for birthdays which remind you of your age. We’ll be able to send virtual flowers rather than having to visit an actual grave. Every Throwback Thursday status will read “Tbt to when I died”.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, pixel to pixel. While this new death-defying feature was introduced due to high demand, it’s existence feels like a violation of death rites. By allowing the dead to retain a vocal, interactive form, Facebook’s made it easy to be immortal.