Decision Maker Response
Jun 13, 2016 — Dear Mrs. Heath,
I am deeply sorry for the tragedy you and your family are experiencing. From the video you shared, it's clear that your husband was a caring and noble man and that you loved each other very much.
I'm a product manager at Facebook on the team that works on memorialization, and I wanted to reach out to let you know that I'm sorry that your husband's account being memorialized was surprising and upsetting. Our intention is to offer support in times of loss, not to add to the grief that people experience.
As you now know, we offer a legacy option to give people a choice about what they'd like to have happen to their accounts after they pass away. If someone choses a legacy contact, then after the account is memorialized, the legacy contact will be able to care for the account in a few specific ways, like changing the profile picture and pinning a post at the top of the Timeline. The legacy contact is not able to log into the account, see private messages, or post as the person.
When a person's Timeline is memorialized (regardless of whether or not there is a legacy contact for it), it stays on Facebook as a place to come together to honor and celebrate the person's life. Friends can continue to see all the photos and posts they could see previously and they can continue to post to the Timeline to share thoughts and memories, if they were able to do so before. No one can log in to the account.
We do not add a legacy contact posthumously in cases when someone did not select one themselves. Even when there are next of kin, Facebook is not in a position to know what the person would have wanted, and we have a responsibility to respect the choices and the privacy of each account holder, even after they have died. Similarly, we do not un-memorialize accounts as part of protecting the privacy and the security of the accounts of people who have passed away.
Please know that these decisions are not made lightly; this is an area that is incredibly sensitive, and the team that develops our policies thinks carefully about how to meet the needs of our global community.