Updated July 2021
Social media is widely used among younger generations, and use is rapidly growing among older generations. With most people posting about their lives, it begs the question, what happens to their social media accounts when they pass away?
Once our loved ones pass away, we may be left with their social media pages up and still receiving messages. Many social media platforms now have guidelines for how to take down your deceased loved one’s pages or put them in a memorialized state.
We have put together a summary for each major social media platform, with information on how to remove your loved one’s pages and whether the platform has a virtual memorial option.
Facebook will memorialize an account, but a family member or close friend must inform Facebook of the death. No login information will be shared, meaning that no one can log in to the account after it becomes memorialized. To show the profile’s status, a “remembering” badge will be added to the individual’s name. Content will stay visible, but the profile won’t appear in public places or pop up as a suggested friend.
As the owner of your own Facebook page, you may choose to designate a legacy contact who can accept friend requests, pin a tribute, and change the account’s profile picture and cover photo after your passing. Your legacy contact must be chosen prior to death, and you must be over 18 to choose a contact. To select a legacy contact, go to “Settings” under “Settings & Privacy” in your Facebook account. Then select “Memorialization Settings” and choose the friend you wish to be your legacy contact. The legacy contact you’ve selected will be informed, and if your account is memorialized, they will be notified.
Within “Memorialization Settings,” you may also choose to have your Facebook account deleted upon death rather than memorialized.
If you are not the owner of the account and wish to delete the deceased’s account, you must provide Facebook with the deceased’s death certificate. If you cannot access their death certificate you will need to provide “proof of authority” in the form of a birth certificate, power of attorney, Last Will and Testament, or estate letter, and proof that your loved one has passed away (an obituary or memorial card).
For more information on Facebook’s policies, click here.
Flickr offers an “in memoriam” account option for deceased Flickr members. In memoriam accounts will preserve all public content in a deceased member’s account, even if their subscription has lapsed. To request an in memoriam account, complete this form. You will be asked to provide proof of death in the form of an obituary, memorial card, or death certificate.
To gain access to a deceased person’s account, Flickr asks you contact them directly. You will be required to prove that you have the legal right to access the deceased’s images (e.g., having power of attorney).
For more information on Flickr’s policies, click here.
Like its parent company, Facebook, Instagram offers a memorialization option. To memorialize someone’s account, you must provide Instagram with proof of death in the form of a link to an obituary or news article.
By memorializing the profile, it becomes frozen in time, with all photos, videos, and comments visible to the audience they were originally shared with. Privacy settings cannot be changed when an account is memorialized. The word “Remembering” will be shown next to the person’s name on their profile, and the account will no longer appear in Instagram’s Explore section. Instagram tries to “prevent references to memorialized accounts from appearing on Instagram in ways that may be upsetting to the person’s friends and family.”
To delete the Instagram account of a deceased individual, official documentation is required from a verified immediate family member. When submitting a removal request to Instagram, be prepared to provide the deceased’s birth certificate, the deceased’s death certificate, or a power of attorney showing you are the executor of the deceased’s estate.
For more information on Instagram’s policies, click here.
LinkedIn provides a form where individuals can report that a LinkedIn member is deceased, which then hides the account. It requires that you input the deceased’s name, the URL of their LinkedIn profile, your relationship to the deceased, the deceased’s email address (associated with their LinkedIn profile), the date of their passing, a link to their obituary, and any other information that may help make the case for closing the account.
To close or memorialize a LinkedIn account, you will need to submit a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and a legal document showing that you have the authority to act on the deceased’s estate (e.g., Letters of Administration, Letters of Testamentary, or Letters of Representation). Closed accounts are permanently removed from LinkedIn, while memorialized accounts are marked as such. No further login access will be granted to the account.
For more information on LinkedIn’s policies, click here.
To deactivate a deceased family member’s account, you will need to go through Pinterest’s help center. Additional documentation may be requested. Pinterest will not provide personal or login information for access to the deceased’s account.
Snapchat will delete the account of a deceased user if they are provided with a copy of the death certificate. Snapchat will not allow anyone access to a deceased user’s account and does not have a memorialization option. Contact Snapchat to report a deceased user here.
TikTok does not offer a memorial option for a deceased user’s account. If you would like to delete the account of someone who has passed away, contact TikTok here. Additional documentation may be requested. Once an account is deleted, it cannot be reactivated, and none of its content or information may be accessed.
For more information on TikTok’s policies, click here.
To close the account of a deceased user, submit an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a link to the deceased’s Tumblr and their username. Additional documentation may be required.
Twitter requires the deceased’s executor or a verified immediate family member to submit an account removal request with the name and username of the account holder. After submitting the request, Twitter will contact the requestor for more information, including a copy of their ID and a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. No access will be provided to the deceased’s account regardless of a person’s relationship to the deceased.
For more information on Twitter’s policies, click here.
You must submit a request through Google for help managing a deceased individual’s YouTube account. You will be required to submit the name and email address of the deceased; your name, email address, and relationship to the deceased; a copy of your driver’s license; a copy of the death certificate; and any additional files or comments regarding your request. Google will not grant you access to the account or provide passwords or other login information, though they may fulfill information requests.
For more information on YouTube’s policies, click here.
Navy Mutual is here to help with your estate planning efforts. Download our Estate Planning: Personal Log to document information regarding your social media accounts and your wishes. If you would like to speak with a representative, schedule an appointment or email us at email@example.com.