What happens to my social media after I die?
Here at The Nottingham, we talk a lot about why it could be beneficial to buy a funeral plan as our relationship with our Prepaid Funeral Plan partner, Dignity, means that we have access to some of the very best advice in the industry. We also have a comprehensive guide which includes the steps to take when a loved one passes away and what are the most important things to do.
As time goes by, the grieving process continues and it can be upsetting when an untimely reminder pops up about a lost loved one or friend. We’re talking about social media notifications. Social media accounts live on when someone passes away and a birthday notification on Facebook or a work anniversary on LinkedIn can be quite distressing when the person is in fact, no longer with us.
Social media is something that may not have come up in many wills or arrangements until recent times. Each platform has a different policy when it comes to a user’s death but the majority won’t give anyone else access due to privacy policies.
On Facebook, there are currently two options. Profile holders can assign a legacy contact by simply clicking Settings from your main profile, finding Manage Account and adding a Facebook friend as your contact. This person will be able to pin a tribute post to your profile, respond to friend requests and update your profile photo but they won’t be able to post as you. Alternatively, you can request to have your account deleted by Facebook. Find out more about what Facebook say to do in these situations here.
On Twitter, if an account is inactive for 6 months then it is automatically deleted but, if you wanted an account deleted faster than this you can work with Twitter to have it removed on behalf of the deceased's estate. At the moment, a verified family member can do this and you will have to provide information and ID along with other measures. Find out more from Twitter themselves, here. Remember, Twitter say that they 'are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of their relationship to the deceased.'
You can ask Instagram to either memorialise an account or remove the accounts of any deceased person. To memorialise an account they will need proof of death such as a link to an obituary or news article but they will not provide the log in details for this account. They will never give anyone else an account holder’s log in as this is against their policies. To get an account completely removed then you must be an immediate family member and fill in a form that can be found on their website. Providing proof of a death certificate and also that you are immediate family will be necessary to get an account completely removed from Instagram. Find out more on their help section of their website.
LinkedIn do not have have an ‘inactive account policy’. There is a procedure listed on LinkedIn’s Help section of their website which explains what you can do in order for LinkedIn to close an account of a deceased person for you. They also have a form that you can fill in to get someone's account removed.
These are the actions that you can take in order to make sure that your social media accounts are able to be closed once you pass away or that you can use to close someone else's accounts. We would advise you to directly contact the platforms if you need to close an account of a loved one that has passed away and to ensure that you have the correct information that they usually detail on their help sections. We have detailed what the platforms ask for at the moment and this is correct at time of publishing.
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