Facebook is changing its policies for deceased users, offering loved ones the chance to obtain a video montage of someone who has passed. The news comes weeks after Facebook, in response to a YouTube plea, granted a grieving father’s request to see his late son’s “Look Back” video, a one-minute compilation the company offers to all its users.
In a policy statement issued on Friday, Facebook said it received many additional requests for videos of the deceased, and it now has a page where loved ones can make such requests.
The statement also announces a change to “memorial pages.” These are Facebook profiles of late users that remain online, allowing people to leave tribute messages.
Until now, only a dead person’s Facebook friends could view their memorial page. Now, the company explains that anyone will be able to see the page — if that is what a person permitted when they were alive.
The changes represents the latest attempt by Facebook to find a balance between respecting a late user’s privacy and allowing family members to have access to mementos of their late loved ones.
The company, along with Google, has done a good job of treating these issues with sensitivity but, as I’ve argued before, this is no longer enough. In an age where many people store all or their photos and letters online, it’s time for governments to step in and modernize probate and estate laws to take account of our digital afterlife.