How to Manage a Loved One's Social Media After Life
How do I go about changing or canceling a person’s social media accounts when they die? My sister passed away several months ago and her social media accounts are still active.
I am sorry for your loss. This a question that has become more frequent in recent years as most Americans have created accounts across multiple social media platforms. Here is a run-down of how you can change or cancel different social media accounts after a loved one has passed.
Let’s start with the biggest and most frequently used social media platform on the internet today. When someone with a Facebook profile passes away, there are two different things someone with authority over their account can do, you can either “memorialize” it or delete it.
A memorialized account serves as a place where friends and family can share stories, photos or memories to celebrate the deceased person’s life, with the word “Remembering” shown next to the deceased person’s name. 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.
If you do not wish to memorialize your sister’s profile, you can also have her account permanently deleted from Facebook.
Facebook allows users (when they are alive) to choose a “legacy contact,” which is a person chosen to look after their account once they have passed away. Alternatively, users can request to have their account permanently deleted after they pass away. (To select either of these options, click on “Settings” on the top right of Facebook, then click on “General” on the left-side menu and then on “Manage Account.”)
If your sister did not set up a legacy contact before she passed, you can submit a memorialization request at Facebook.com/help – type in “How do I report a deceased person on Facebook that needs to be memorialized?” in the search bar. You will be asked to provide proof of death by providing a copy of either an obituary, death certificate or memorial card.
If you would rather have her account deleted go to Facebook.com/help, and type in “How do I request the removal of a deceased family member’s Facebook account?” This also requires proof of death plus verification that you are an immediate family member or executor of the account holder.
Instagram’s policy on a deceased users’ account is similar to its parent company, Facebook. A deceased user’s account can either be memorialized or removed, which you can request at Help.Instagram.com/264154560391256.
Like Facebook, to memorialize an Instagram account requires proof of death. To remove an account, you will also need to provide verification that you are an immediate family member.
Twitter will work with anyone who is authorized to act on behalf of an account owner’s estate or with a verified immediate family member to have an account deactivated. If your sister was a Twitter user, you can request the removal of her account, by visiting Help.Twitter.com/forms/privacy.
After you submit your request, Twitter will email you with instructions for providing more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID and a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
If your sister had a LinkedIn profile, the only option is to delete her account. To request this, see LinkedIn.com/help/linkedin/ask/ts-rdmlp. You will need to provide her name and URL to her LinkedIn profile; the relationship you have to her; her email address; date she passed away; link to an obituary; and company she most recently worked for.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.