Tuesday, 23 February 2021
It may not be a topic that is at the forefront of your mind when a loved one passes away, however, their social media account can sometimes cause added pain in the months after their passing. Logging into Facebook or Instagram and receiving a notification from your loved one can be extremely upsetting after they have passed if you were not expecting it. It is important to know your options so you can make easy and clear decisions about what you’d like to happen with your loved one’s social media accounts when you are ready.
There are 3 different options for social media accounts after death. You can either do nothing at all and leave the account active, have the account deleted or have the account memorialised. The below will outline each option in detail and the steps involved to get the process underway should you decide one of these options is the right one for you and your loved one.
Usually, to either memorialise or delete an account you will need to complete all or some of these actions, dependent on each the individual social media platforms regulations.
– Register the death
– Contact the relevant social media platform and let them know that you would like to close or memorialise an account.
– Provide the relevant information, this usually includes details of the person who has died, proof of death, proof of your identity and your relationship with the person who has passed away.
More specifically please see the detailed process below for deleting or memorialising a Facebook page. At the end, we have included links to instructions on how to do the same for the other platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google/Gmail.
- Have their account deleted.
Deleting a person’s social media account will permanently delete it, along with their data, photos and any other content posted on their account. It is very important to have a discussion with close family and friends to see how everyone feels about this option. You may like to discuss options to retrieve their images and content first before having the account deleted. This can be a long process as you will need to individually save each photo from there their account. It may be a good idea to ask a friend for help if you are feeling overwhelmed and it is too difficult for you to look at photos.
There are two ways you can go about having your loved one’s social media accounts deleted. The first being to manually delete it yourself if you have access to their email or username and password. If you can log into their Facebook account and know their password, you can follow the prompts within the app or Facebook webpage to manually delete the account yourself. However, it is quite common for loved ones not to know this information, in this case, you will need to contact the appropriate people at Facebook in order to have the account deleted.
You can contact Facebook via this online form on their website to request the deletion of an account. You will need to provide them with proof of your relationship to the deceased, such as the will or a birth or marriage certificate, a copy of the death certificate and proof of your ID. Facebook will be in touch with you via the contact details you provide for the next steps.
- Have their account memorialised.
There are a few platforms that offer account memorialisation, Facebook is one of these. A memorial account on Facebook is a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. The word Remembering will be shown next to the person’s name on their profile, friends can share memories on the memorialised account and lastly, the profile won’t appear in public spaces such as in suggestions for ‘People You May Know’ and birthday or other anniversary reminders will not be sent out.
This option is usually a little easier than deleting an account and it’s not so final, giving you time to process, keep their photos and memories alive and also is an opportunity and space for others to post their memories with the loved one.
To request the memorialisation of a Facebook account you will need to use this online form and you will need to provide proof of death.
- Leave their account active.
If neither deleting or memorialising your loved one’s account seems like the right decision for you there is the option to do nothing and leave their account active. However, it is important to know that this does leave the account open to security issues, hacking is rare, but it does happen, it would be awful to lose the account unexpectedly. Without login details, there is also no way of monitoring posts that are made on the deceased timeline, so it is important to consider this in your decision as well. Lastly when the account is left active friends of the account holder will still be sent birthday reminders and friend anniversary notifications from the deceased’s account. This can often be upsetting for many people so it’s a good idea to consider all your options and decide what is right for you.
All social media platforms have slightly different options, regulations and processes for deleting and memorialising accounts after death. You can find the relevant pages here to begin the process for each one.