By Alysha Dudley, Local Matters, Digital Coordinator
It is almost impossible to exist in today’s society without having an online presence of some description and as time goes on, staying offline is becoming increasingly harder.
This begs the question – what happens to my social media accounts when I die?
Each social media platform handles deceased accounts differently. Some allow you to nominate someone ahead of time to handle your account, others require family or executors to contact the platform to have the account removed, or on some platforms, memorialised.
A Facebook spokesperson says, “We recommend people have an open and honest conversation with their loved ones about what will happen to their account when they pass. We provide access to a range of controls, which our community can decide to use, including legacy contacts and scheduled deletion.”
If you choose to memorialise your Facebook account, a legacy contact is a person of your choosing who takes care of the account after your death. The person can change the profile picture or cover photo, accept friend requests and, if the memorialised account allows tributes, decide who is able to see and post these.
Alternatively, you can choose to have your account permanently deleted. Google uses ‘Inactive Account Manager’ to control what happens to your account when you have been inactive for a selected period of time.
You can choose to automatically delete all of your data, share your data with a trusted contact, or both.
You can pick and choose which data you share, including Youtube, Google Drive and Mail.
Instagram allows accounts to become memorialised, although this request cannot be set up in advance, so must be done by family or friends after your death. Memorialising an Instagram account allows your content to still be seen, but the account stops showing in public spaces like Explore.
Alternatively, verified immediate family members can request removal of the account.
Twitter works with an authorised person to have the deceased’s account deactivated. This involves submitting documentation for the deceased and the authorised person, such as ID and a copy of the Death Certificate.
Preparing your social media account for after your death may be the last thing on your ‘to do’ list, and no-one likes to imagine their own demise, but preparing a plan for your accounts now may save your friends and family a lot of hard work once you’re gone.
Links to instructions
About memorialised accounts
Request to remove or memorialise an account
How to report a deceased person's account
Deactivating an account
Submit a request regarding a deceased user’s account
Inactive Account Manager