Facebook Legacy: How to Choose an Heir to Your Account

PHOTO: A screen grab released by Facebook on Feb. 12, 2015 shows their redesigned memorial Facebook profile page.Facebook
A screen grab released by Facebook on Feb. 12, 2015 shows their redesigned memorial Facebook profile page.

Facebook is now letting its 1.35 billion users decide what will happen to their accounts when they die.

Beginning today, users will see an option in their security settings that will allow them to have their account deleted when they die. People looking to achieve digital immortality can designate an heir who will inherit their account.

It's up to the user whether or not they want to let their digital heir know now about their decision.

"If someone chooses, they may give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook. Other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized," a blog post from Facebook's product team said.

Once Facebook is notified someone has died, the profile page will turn into a memorial with "Remembering" listed before the person's name. The digital heir will be able to change the profile photo, make posts on the page and respond to friend requests.

The one thing off-limits: Private messages. Facebook said a person's heir will not be able to log in under their identity or see any of their private discussions.

The social network already offers basic memorial pages that are not able to be managed by an heir.

"By talking to people who have experienced loss, we realized there is more we can do to support those who are grieving and those who want a say in what happens to their account after death," Facebook's blog post said.

Facebook Legacy is available in the United States and will eventually be rolled out to other countries.