We live in a world of social networking. As the platforms continue to grow in size and numbers, so do the number of users. This gives rise to the issue of what do with the social media accounts belonging to an individual who has passed away. Each social networking site has its own guidelines for dealing with accounts of deceased individuals. Here is a summary of some of the most popular sites and their policies.
Facebook has two options for handling the account of a person who has passed away; you can either delete the account or memorialize the person’s profile. It is possible that the user has already chosen one of the options and has already nominated a legacy contact to manage their Facebook profile after his or her death.
To delete a Facebook profile you must contact Facebook with copies of your identification and a death certificate. In lieu of a death certificate you may be able to provide proof of your relationship to the deceased in the form of a will, birth certificate, or marriage certificate) along with a link to the obituary.
When a Facebook profile is memorialized, it stays on the site with the word ‘remembering’ preceding the name of the person who has passed away. While existing friends will still be able to post messages and comments, Facebook will hide the page from search results and will stop sending out birthday or anniversary updates.
If the owner of the profile chose a legacy contact before passing away, the individual chosen to manage the account can write a pinned post to the profile, respond to friend requests, as well as update the profile picture.
Twitter accounts of deceased individuals are deactivated if an immediate family member or the executor of the estate contacts them. Twitter will ask for various pieces of information regarding the deceased, a copy of the deceased’s death certificate, as well as a copy of photo identification of the person making the request to have the account deleted.
Instagram provides two different options, either deleting the account or memorializing the Instagram profile.
If you have proof of your loved one’s death as well as of your relationship with that individual, you can request that an Instagram account be removed. Instagram recommends providing a copy of a birth certificate, a death certificate, and a copy of the will naming you as the executor.
On the other hand, you can request that the Instagram account be memorialized. To do this simply requires proof of death. After the account has been memorialized, it cannot be changed in any way. Everything stays exactly the same.
In order to delete a Pinterest account you have to email the company. The email must include the URL to the deceased’s profile; proof of death such a death certificate or a link to the obituary, and proof of your relationship to the deceased.
LinkedIn provides a convenient online form to close the account of a deceased love one. The form will ask for the URL for the deceased’s profile, proof of your relationship with the deceased, their email address, the date of their death, the name of the last company they worked for, as well as a link to the obituary.
The choice is yours. You can delete social media accounts or, in some cases, memorialize the accounts of your deceased loved ones. The other option is do nothing and leave the accounts just as they are. Some individuals find it comforting to be able to leave the accounts alone. However, keep in mind that some social media platforms have rules regarding how long an individual account can stay inactive while remaining on the site. Therefore, if you decide to leave an account alone, it would be wise to download any pictures or messages that you would like to keep.