When a death occurs we often get the question about what to do with social media accounts. Below we have provided some information and if in any doubt, call or email them to request additional instructions.
Some of these can be set up from you now and others, it is a good idea to ensure your representative/executor has passwords and information about all your social media accounts.
Social media accounts might not be the main priority after a loved one has died, but they can definitely cause some added pain in the weeks and months after the funeral. Something as simple as logging into Facebook and finding a birthday reminder or notification from your loved one can be incredibly upsetting.
You do, however, have a few options when it comes to handling these old social media accounts: delete them, memorialize them, or even take no action at all. Here, we’ll talk you through those options, and what you need to do to go through with them on all the major sites around.
This page covers:
- Deleting social media accounts after a death
- Memorializing social media accounts after a death
- How to memorialize or delete accounts on Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – LinkedIn – Pinterest– YouTube & Google Plus – Flickr
Remember: if the person who died made a will or set up a funeral plan, they may have also included log in details for their social media accounts or mentioned what they’d like to happen to them.
Deleting social media accounts after a death
Deleting a social media account permanently removes it – and all the information and photos on it – from the platform involved. As such, it’s worth taking some time to discuss this with other friends and family of the person who has died to see how they feel before going ahead.
To delete an account, you usually need to:
- Register the death. Social media sites usually ask for proof of the death before closing or memorializing an account. You can send them a certified copy of the death certificate for this. some allow you to simply fax the Statement of Death and others will ask that you send in originals. Here is Alberta, you can get these statements from your Funeral Director.
- Visit the account and save what you need to. Deleting a social media account is very final. So, before you go any further, look through the posts and save any photos you want to keep. Err on the side of caution: if you’re not sure whether to save something, save it anyway. You can ask an internet-savvy friend to go through and save everything for you if you find it too hard to do yourself at the moment.
- Contact the social media site with the necessary information.This differs from site to site – we’ve added guides and links for each of the most popular sites below – but usually includes:
- Details of the person who died: their name, account URL or handle and the email address they signed up with.
- Proof of death: usually a copy of the death certificate or a link to an obituary or death notice.
- Proof of your identity: such as a copy of your driver’s licence or passport.
- Proof of your relationship with the person who has died: such as a birth or marriage certificate, or a copy of the will, or a copy of the grant of representation if you are the executor or administrator of the estate.
Remember: there may be social media accounts you are not aware of, in which case it can help to do a quick Google search of their name, and ask their friends if they know about any other social media accounts.
Memorializing social media accounts after a death
A few social media sites allow you to ‘memorialize’ an account instead of deleting it or leaving it as it is. Usually, this means that the account will still be there to visit or post messages to, but will be made more private, so that only people who knew the person who has died can find it. The social media site will also stop sending out updates on birthdays and other anniversaries.
There are benefits to keeping a social media account active in this way. For example, it can help people share thoughts and memories of the person who died with friends and relatives who are far away. Sometimes, people post messages on these pages as if they are talking to the person, or talk about the sense of loss they are feeling, and others can share their experience of grief. This can be comforting.
Memorializing a social media account is usually a little easier than deleting one, as it’s not so final. It’s usually as simple as contacting the website or platform involved with either a death certificate, a death notice or an obituary.
How to memorialize or delete accounts on the major social media sites after a death
Facebook offers two options: memorialize the profile of the person who has died or delete it. The user themselves may have already chosen one of these options and nominated a ‘legacy contact’ to manage their profile after their death. If you have set up your Legacy account, make sure your representative is aware.
How to delete a Facebook profile after a death
If you’d like to request the deletion of a Facebook profile after a death, you’ll need to contact Facebook with copies of your ID as well as the death certificate. If you don’t have a copy of the death certificate, you may be able to send proof of your relationship with the deceased (such as the will, or a birth or marriage certificate) plus a link to an obituary instead.
You can ask Facebook to delete the profile of your loved one here.
How to memorialize a Facebook profile after a death
When you memorialize a Facebook profile, it stays up on the site with the word ‘Remembering’ in front of the name of the person who has died. Facebook will hide the page from in-site search results and the ‘People You May Know’ boxes, and will stop sending birthday and anniversary updates. Existing friends will be able to post messages and comments on the timeline.
If a legacy contact has been chosen by the owner of the profile before their death, that person will be able to write a pinned post for the profile, respond to friend requests and update the profile picture and cover photo. They can also choose to request to remove the account if they want to.
To protect the privacy of the person who died, legacy contacts can’t log into the account, remove or alter any posts, read private messages and can’t remove or add friends.
If you’d like to memorialize a Facebook profile, fill out the online request form here, attaching proof of the death.
Twitter will deactivate the account of someone who has died if contacted by an immediate family member or the executor of the estate.
The company asks for information about the deceased, a copy of the death certificate and a copy of ID (such as a driver’s licence) for the person requesting the account deletion. For privacy reasons, Twitter doesn’t provide account access to anyone after a death.
You can begin the process of removing a Twitter account here.
Like Facebook, Instagram gives you two options.
How to delete an Instagram profile after a death
You can request that an account be removed from Instagram if you have proof of the death and of your relationship with the person who has died. The platform suggests a birth certificate, the death certificate, and/or a copy of the will naming you the executor. You can start the process off here.
How to memorialize an Instagram profile after a death
You can request the memorization of an Instagram account with proof of the death alone. Once the account is memorialized, it can’t be changed in any way: the posts created by the person who died stay just as they are. No one can log in, nor can they add new likes, tags, posts and comments. Memorialized accounts are hidden from Explore sections and other public spaces on the platform.
To ask Instagram to memorialize an account, click here.
LinkedIn allows you to close the account of a loved one who has died with an online form. The company asks that you give them the URL to the deceased’s profile, proof of your relationship, their email address, date of death, a link to an obituary and the name of the last company they worked at. You can find the online form here.
To delete an account from Pinterest, you’ll need to email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL to their profile, proof of their passing (a death certificate or link to an obituary will do), and proof of your relationship.
YouTube and Google Plus
YouTube and Google Plus are both owned by Google, and so accounts on both platforms can be deleted using the online form here. You’ll need to provide the account details for the person who died, your own name and email address, your rough location, and the date of death. You’ll also need to attach proof of your ID and a copy of the death certificate.
To delete a Flickr account, you’ll need to write a letter to Yahoo, which owns the platform. This should explain the situation and provide the Flickr account info for the person who has died. You’ll also need to enclose proof that you are the executor or administrator of the estate (such as a copy of the will or grant of representation), and a copy of the death certificate.
Remember, it’s up to you
You don’t have to remove or even memorialize social media accounts if you don’t want to. Some people find it comforting to leave them as they are. However, some platforms do have rules on how long an account can remain inactive while staying on the site, so if you do choose to leave the account alone, it’s a good idea to download and store any photos or messages you’d like to keep.
If you have a question regarding closing these accounts Call our Family Service lines at 780-590-0626