A common topic discussed here on the Digital Beyond is people’s digital legacies…what we knowingly leave behind, and what we, well, unknowingly leave. With social media’s presence only growing in recent years it has become more commonplace to question what happens to your social media accounts when you die. While we covered this topic in the past, there exist relevant changes and updates necessary to share with you all.
What happens to your Facebook account when you die?
Ah, the mother of all social media – Facebook. Facebook has been adapting to cater to our imminent departure by now allowing users to select in advance whether they would like to have their account memorialized or permanently deleted.
Memorialized accounts create a space where friends and family can share stories, photos or memories – ‘Remembering’ is shown next to the users name on memorialized accounts. Once an account is memorialized, content the person shared is still visible on Facebook to the audience it was originally shared with, however; the user’s profile will not show up in public spaces such as people you may know, ads or birthday reminders.
Permanently Deleted Accounts:
If you would like your Facebook profile and all its contents to disappear along with you, simply request to have your account permanently deleted if you pass away. Just follow the instructions below:
- “From the top right of Facebook, click and select Settings
- From the left menu, click General
- Click Manage Account
- Click Request account deletion and follow the on-screen instructions”
Facebook now allows users to choose a legacy contact, which is a person chosen to look after your account after it has become a memorial page. The legacy contact can respond to friend requests, change the profile and cover photo, as well as request removal or the account. Don’t worry though, they cannot log into your actual account, read your messages, or change or remove posts, photos or other things you have shared in the past. All secrets (on Facebook at least) should be safe! The FAQ concerning this topic also mentions that they may be adding additional capabilities for legacy contacts in the future.
If you are interested in having a copy of your Facebook data, you can into your General Account Settings and download a copy of your Facebook data at anytime. In addition, when selecting your legacy contact you can give them permission to download a copy of what you have shared on Facebook as well.
Didn’t Plan in Advance?
The days when your Facebook’s fate lay in the hands of others are long gone, so if you want a say in what happens, it is quite simple to go into Facebook and make your selection at any time. However, if you or someone you know, did not plan in advance, someone can report a profile to be memorialized, or verified immediate family members can request removal of a loved one’s account. Instructions and forms can be found here.
What happens to your Twitter account when you die?
While Facebook appears to be adapting and redesigning their platform with death in mind. Twitter does not seem to have made many (if any) changes in the past few years.
Contacting Twitter about a deceased family member’s account:
In the event of someone’s death, Twitter will work with an individual who is “authorized to act on behalf of the estate, or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased to have an account deactivated.”
When requesting removal of a deceased user’s account you will be asked to provide the following information:
- Deceased user’s Twitter account username and full name of the account owner
- Relationship to user
- Your full name
- Email address
After submitting a request, Twitter will send an email asking you to provide more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID, and a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
Contacting Twitter about media concerning a deceased family member:
Twitter makes a note that they are unable to give account access to anyone regardless of their relationship to the user. Loved ones are able to request the removal of images or video of deceased individuals, from the point of when a critical injury occurs to the moments before or after their death. These requests are considered in the light of public interest factors including the newsworthiness of the media and they cannot honor every request made.
What happens to your Instagram account when you die?
Instagram’s policy on accounts of the deceased aligns closely to that of its parent company, Facebook. Users’ accounts can either be memorialized or removed. However, there exists one big difference between Facebook and Instagram – while Facebook now allows users to choose which of these options they prefer before they die – Instagram does not. Thus the decision of what happens to your Instagram (and your picture-perfect selfies) is out of your hands.
If you see an Instagram account of a deceased person (or you happen to be that deceased person), the account can be reported to Instagram for memorialization. Immediate family members are also able to request the account be deleted.
Memorializing Instagram accounts:
Instagram will memorialize accounts upon receiving a valid request. They require ‘proof of death, such as a link to an obituary or a news article’ in order to proceed with the memorialization – fill out this short form to make the request. Some key features of a memorialized account include:
- “ Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to log into a memorialized account.
- The profile of a memorialized account doesn’t appear differently from an account that hasn’t been memorialized.
- Memorialized accounts can’t be changed in any way. This includes changes to likes, followers, tags, posts and comments.
- Posts the deceased person shared, including photos and videos, stay on Instagram and are visible to the audience they were shared with.
- Memorialized accounts don’t appear in public spaces, like people’s Explore section.”
Removing Instagram Accounts:
Only verified immediate family members are able to make a request for removal of the account. Upon submitting a deletion request, Instagram requires individuals present proof of immediate family relation, which could include the following: deceased person’s birth certificate, deceased person’s death certificate or “proof of authority under local law that you are the lawful representative of the deceased person, or their estate.
Follow this link in order to submit a request for deletion.
What happens to your LinkedIn account when you die?
LinkedIn has not made too many strides in the past few years to update their policy on deceased LinkedIn member’s accounts – their help page has not been updated since November 2014. However, their policy is quite simple and straightforward.
If you know someone or come across a profile of an individual who has passed away, LinkedIn simply asks that you gather the following information:
- Member’s Name and URL to their LinkedIn profile
- The relationship to have to the deceased
- Member’s email address
- Date the individual passed away
- Link to an obituary
- Company they were most recently working for
SImply fill out this form to submit to LinkedIn, and they will be in touch shortly. The only option here is account deletion, there will be no way to download or recover the person’s connections or data unless someone has their username and password on hand.
What happens to your Snapchat account when you die?
After some digging to try and tell you all what happens your Snapchat account when you die the answer is non-existent. Nowhere on their site or FAQ do they have any instruction for what steps to take. Therefore, the only way to be in charge of your Snapchat afterlife would be to provide someone or leave your login information somewhere and request they go in and delete the account.
Deleting Snapchat Accounts
First, log into Snapchat here, https://support.snapchat.com/delete-account with the person’s username and password (which is the Snapchat accounts deletion page).Then simply check the box confirming you are not a robot, click submit, re-enter the username and password and click continue. After following these steps an account is deactivated for 30 days, which involves individuals not being able to interact in any way with the person on Snapchat. Then after the 30 days, the account will be permanently deleted.
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