Instagram Speeding Up Rollout of a Memorial Account Feature Due to Coronavirus Deaths: Report

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Instagram is working on a new account memorialisation feature to help acknowledge a deceased person’s account better. The new feature will enable a ‘Remembering’ banner under the username after they have died and the account has been memorialised. The company says that it has been working on this feature for a while now, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has accelerated the development to ‘help support the community during a difficult time.’ There is no word on when this feature will be launched.

Tipster Jane Manchun Wong discovered this feature first, and tested it on her own account. Wong shared a screenshot on how the new banner will look on a dead person’s account, after the account memorialisation feature is activated. Instagram has also confirmed that it has accelerated work on this feature.

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“We’ve been working on these updates for some time, though this is one — among others — that we’ve accelerated in light of COVID-19 to help support our community during a difficult time,” Liza Crenshaw, a spokesperson for Instagram told BuzzFeed News.

While Facebook-owned Instagram allows users to memorialise an account for a while now, the ‘Remembering’ banner below the Instagram profile picture is new. The family of the deceased can memorialise the account by filling up a form and giving the necessary proofs and documents. Once memorialised, Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to log into a memorialised account. The profile page remains the same, and posts shared by deceased person continue to stay visible. However, memorialised accounts don’t appear in public spaces, like people’s Explore section. No changes on existing posts, comments, privacy settings, or profile info can be made in a memorialised account.

While these features will continue to exist, Instagram will now add a ‘Remembering’ banner to help differentiate a deceased person’s account better.

It is understandable that Instagram would want to speed up the implementation of this feature, given the increasing number of deaths from COVID-19. According to the latest figures, over 1.82 lakh people have lost their lives due to the novel coronavirus.

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