What happens to your Instagram account when you die?

instagramUnlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t readily reveal what happens to the account of a deceased user. As a part of their privacy policy, they offer basic instructions on how to contact them about a deceased user:


In the event of the death of an Instagram User, please contact us. We will usually conduct our communication via email; should we require any other information, we will contact you at the email address you have provided in your request.

Who can make a request?
From the looks of the policy above, anyone can make a request to Instagram, however in a recent statement to My Daily regarding the shutdown of Peaches Geldof’s account, an Instagram spokesperson had this to say:

“When a person passes away, we do honour requests from close family members to deactivate their Instagram account, which removes the profile and associated information from the site.”

This statement indicates that only close family members can make a request, which seems to be in-line with the policies of other companies.

What actions can they take?
With Instagram, there appear to be two options: leaving the account online or shutting it down. If your heirs had the username and password, they could presumably take control of the account as well, but this would require advance planning.

Are their other options?
You might want to keep a backup of your Instagram photos on your computer or on another service. In many cases, they’re saved to your mobile device automatically, but you can also use tools like Instaport to download all of your photos.

What’s our take?
Considering the immense emotional value of photographs, especially those captured spontaneously throughout life, I would hope that Instagram would take action to help families download and archive an account. Their vague policy does not specifically prohibit this, although I’m not sure they would not offer this as a regular course of practice.

As with all services, I would also like for Instagram to allow users to specify what should happen to their account ahead of time to avoid uncertainty about what might happen at the direction of close family members.

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One Response to What happens to your Instagram account when you die?

  1. AfterWordsHQ July 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Please check out AfterWordsHQ with a dot and then a com after it – the service allows you to pass important info to the people you leave behind. Tell someone you love them one last time, or have someone post a last message to your Facebook account, or give them the info they need to close it. Or, tell your kids where to find your will or any plans you might have for your services. AfterWordsHQ can help get that done for you.

    Hopefully this is helpful info for someone reading this article.

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