Facebook on Friday announced a new privacy change that will affect the accounts of users who pass away. Instead of only letting deceased users’ friends access their accounts as it did before, Facebook will now keep those accounts’ default privacy settings unchanged. In other words, a dead person who had a public profile will have their profile stay public even after death, Facebook revealed.
“Starting today, we will maintain the visibility of a person’s content as-is. This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy,” Facebook wrote. “We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.”
The company revealed that one man’s request to view the “Look Back” video for his son, who died before Facebook introduced the feature, “touched the hearts of everyone who heard it, including ours.”
In addition to John Berlin, whose video appeal to Facebook turned viral on YouTube, others have apparently made similar requests.
“Changes like this are part of a larger, ongoing effort to help people when they face difficult challenges like bereavement on Facebook. We will have more to share in the coming months as we continue to think through how best to help people decide how they want to be remembered and what they want to leave behind for loved ones,” Facebook added.
Of course, people who have made their profiles public and who don’t want everyone to have access to their profile after they die might want to change their settings if they know the end is near.
Berlin’s video follows below.