People turn to Facebook to find community during life’s highs and lows. They know the loss of a friend or family member can be devastating — and they want Facebook to be a place where people can support each other while honouring the memory of their loved ones.
Facebook is now sharing updates to make this experience even more supportive for the community: a new tributes section for memorialised accounts; additional controls for people who manage memorialised accounts; and improved AI to keep the profile of a deceased loved one from appearing in painful ways.
These changes are the result of feedback Facebook has heard from people of different religions and cultural backgrounds as well as experts and academics. Facebook appreciates them for helping the company understand how they can build more tools to help people find comfort in times of grief.
Over 30 million people view memorialised profiles every month to post stories, commemorate milestones and remember those who have passed away. The new tributes section expands on this, creating a separate tab on memorialised profiles where friends and family can share posts — all while preserving the original timeline of their loved one. This lets people see the types of posts that are most helpful to them as they grieve and remember their loved ones. In 2015 Facebook introduced a feature that lets people choose a legacy contact — a family member or friend entrusted to care for their Facebook account when they pass away. Since then, Facebook has heard that legacy contacts wish they could do more to manage the memorialised accounts they look after.
Legacy contacts can now moderate the posts shared to the new tributes section by changing tagging settings, removing tags and editing who can post and see posts. This helps them manage content that might be hard for friends and family to see if they’re not ready. These new controls were built on features, like the ability to update the person’s profile picture and cover photo and to pin a post to the top of their profile.
While minors can’t select legacy contacts, Facebook has recently changed their policies to let parents who have lost children under 18 to request to become their legacy contact. Facebook has made this change based on feedback they received, and hope it will provide some assistance to grieving parents.
In addition to creating supportive tools, Facebook also hopes to minimise experiences that might be painful. They have heard from people that memorialising a profile can feel like a big step that not everyone is immediately ready to take. That’s why it’s so important that those closest to the deceased person can decide when to take that step. Now Facebook is only allowing friends and family members to request to have an account memorialised.
If an account hasn’t yet been memorialised, Facebook uses the AI to help keep it from showing up in places that might cause distress, like recommending that person be invited to events or sending a birthday reminder to their friends. They’ve been working to get better and faster at this....