LinkedIn offers the ability to close the account and remove the profile of a deceased user. In their Help Center, they offer this explanation:
Unfortunately, there may be a time when you come across the profile of a colleague, classmate, or loved one who has passed away. If this happens, we can close that person’s account and remove their profile on your behalf.
To start this process, please answer some questions about the person who has passed away. The form can be completed and signed electronically via DocuSign here:
We’ll need to know the member’s name, the company they worked at most recently, your relationship to them, and get a link to their profile. It’s also very helpful if you can provide us with the member’s email address so we can find and verify their account.
After you fill out this form, it will be automatically sent to us for review and we’ll be in touch.
Who can make a request?
Anyone can make a request, however LinkedIn requires you to validate your email address before filling out the form. They also require you to state your relationship to the deceased, which suggests that those without close relationships might not be able to have the account removed.
What actions can they take?
The only supported action is to delete the account, such that the username and password no longer work, and to remove the individual’s profile from the site.
Are there other options?
Before closing an account, if you have the username and password, you may want to export the deceased user’s connections, in case you have a need to contact them in the future. This can be especially useful for small businesses when an owner or key partner passes away. There’s been some legal discussion over whether a company or an individual owns an account, but it’s clear that LinkedIn intends to serve individuals, a line which is increasingly grey for small business owners.
What’s our take?
For a network like LinkedIn, where business is the primary purpose, we believe this policy is appropriate. The notion of continuing to use a LinkedIn account after the account holder’s death is likely inappropriate and unprofessional.