When my daughter died, she left her Facebook page open. My son was able to go in and put family members on as friends.
About a year and a half later, I started getting messages from her friends saying her page had been closed and asking if I asked for that to be done.
I hadn’t and contacted Facebook and asked that her page remain available. In a very short time (less than 24 hours) her page had been changed to a remembrance page. As others have already said, no new friends can be added but posts can still be made. I’m guessing that in a random review of pages, Facebook staff saw the posts regarding her death. All her posts remain and it’s incredibly bittersweet to read her posts knowing she was nearing the end of her life. More than one of her many online friends also said they noticed small comments that meant more looking back. But then hindsight is often 20–20.
If someone reports your death to Facebook, they make it so that no new friend requests can be sent, nobody who isn’t already on the friends list can see the content of their page, and it becomes a rememberance page. Here’s an example.. buddy of mine I served with in 10th Mountain Division. He went on to earn his green beret and was serving with 7th Group when he was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan in August of 2015.
We should prepare ourselves for such.
Regarding Facebook, the best thing to do is to nominate a “legacy contact”. A legacy contact is someone you choose to manage your account after you pass away. They’ll be able to do things like pin a post on your Timeline, respond to new friend requests and update your profile picture. They won’t post as you or see your messages.
I think this restriction – your messages will remain confidential – is quite appropriate… these are just a handful of the secrets we commonly hear people learning of after a death, some of it revealed by the correspondence with someone else:
The person who died . . .
Was in debt.
Was having or had an affair.
Had a previous marriage they kept secret.
Had other children that were kept a secret.
Was struggling with drugs or alcohol.
Had a problem with gambling.
Had been aware they were sick/dying and not told anyone.
Had not shared their true sexual orientation or gender identity.
But in case you don’t want a Facebook account after you pass away, you can request to have your account permanently deleted instead of choosing a legacy contact.