Losing a loved one can be heart breaking. During this difficult time we may not think about closing the social media accounts of your deceased loved one. Here is some hopefully helpful information on how to handle the social media accounts of your loved ones who have passed when the time comes and you are ready to move forward.
Most social media platforms have similar options when it comes to handling the accounts during a time like this. First thing to consider is if you would like to memorialize the accounts or if you would like to delete them.
Memorializing an Account
By memorializing an account, the account will still exist and close family and friends are able to visit the account, however, no one can log into the account. The profile will not show up in public places and depending on the settings chosen you may or may not be able to post on the timeline. Memorializing the account can be a way to commemorate your loved one by still being able to look at their photos, posts, etc.
Deleting an Account
If you wish to delete the accounts for whatever reason, perhaps it is too painful to keep their accounts open, or you wish to avoid any mal intentions by having the risk of other people hacking the account or posting unwanted content on their timeline etc. Here is some information on how to delete accounts for a few of the most popular social media platforms. Some information to keep at hand as it is the 4 most common things each platform will ask for is name of the deceased, profile name, death certificate and proof of your relationship with the deceased.
Facebook provides the option to either memorialize the account or close it down. If you wish to delete the account you can do so by submitting a form to Facebook. You can fill out that form here.
As Instagram is owned by Facebook the process is similar. You will need the user’s birth certificate as well as their death certificate. To fill out a request form to delete an account click here.
If you wish to memorialize the account you can fill the form out here.
Snapchat gives you the option to deactivate a person’s account when they pass away. For this platform you will need to provide a copy of the death certificate. You can delete the account by going to snapchats support page and under “what is your concern with this account” you can select “this person has passed away” and fill out the form it provides.
While email is not a form of social media, you might also wonder what happens to the account after the user passes. Perhaps you would like to gain access to the account as there might be information you need. You can request to obtain data from the account by filling out a form and providing the death certificate. While different terms might apply for each email provider. Here are some of the more popular ones Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, icloud.
Hopefully this was some helpful information during a difficult time. Although this is not something you will be thinking about until later on hopefully this information will help guide you through the next steps. Something to think about would perhaps be leaving a digital will before you die. If you find making the decision of what to do with your loved ones’ accounts hard because you are unsure of what they would have wanted, maybe you could make things easier for your loved ones when you pass by leaving instructions on what you would like to happen to your accounts.