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What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts When You Die: A Guide

The digital age has brought about a new concern: what happens to our social media accounts when we pass away? While it might not be something we think about often, it’s essential to understand how different platforms handle deceased users’ accounts and how we can prepare for the inevitable. In this article, we’ll explore the policies and options available on popular social media platforms to help you plan for the digital afterlife.

Facebook

Facebook offers two primary options for handling a deceased user’s account: memorialization and account deletion.

  1. Memorialization: Facebook allows friends or family members to request the memorialization of a deceased user’s account. Once memorialized, the account becomes a space for friends and family to share memories and tributes. Memorialized accounts have restricted access, and certain features are disabled to protect the user’s privacy.
  2. Account Deletion: Users can also choose to have their account permanently deleted after their death. This option can be selected in the Facebook settings under “Memorialization Settings.” Alternatively, a designated “legacy contact” can request account deletion on behalf of the deceased user.

Instagram

Owned by Facebook, Instagram shares similar options for handling a deceased user’s account. Like Facebook, accounts can either be memorialized or deleted.

  1. Memorialization: A close friend or family member can request the memorialization of a deceased user’s account. Memorialized accounts are locked and display “Remembering” above the user’s name. Followers can still view the account and leave comments on existing posts.
  2. Account Deletion: A verified immediate family member can request the deletion of a deceased user’s account by providing proof of death and their relationship to the deceased.

Twitter

Twitter’s policy for deceased users is different from Facebook and Instagram. The platform does not offer a memorialization option but allows for account deactivation.

Account Deactivation: A person authorized to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate or a verified immediate family member can request the account’s deactivation. Twitter requires documentation, such as a death certificate and proof of relationship, to process the request.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows for the removal of a deceased user’s profile to maintain the platform’s professional focus.

Profile Removal: Connections, colleagues, or family members can request the removal of a deceased user’s profile. LinkedIn requires information about the deceased, their relationship to the requester, and proof of death to process the request.

Preparing for the Digital Afterlife

To ensure your wishes are respected, it’s essential to plan for the handling of your social media accounts after your death. Share your preferences with trusted family members or friends, or consider including instructions in your will or other legal documents.

Understanding how various social media platforms handle deceased users’ accounts can help you make informed decisions about your digital legacy. By planning ahead and communicating your preferences, you can ensure your social media presence is managed according to your wishes, providing peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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