How Your Social Media Lives on After You Die

April 24th 2016

Here's a morbid, yet necessary thought: Should I die unexpectedly, what happens to my Facebook account? Or my Twitter? Instagram? My entire internet life?

It's something you may have wondered every time a celebrity dies, and news of their death spreads on social media. Or maybe it's something you've wondered because you've sadly experienced the personal loss of a friend.

In the event of your unexpected death, here is how your family and/or friends can handle your social media accounts (assuming you didn't give anyone a list of all of your handles with their passwords, of course).


There are about 30 million dead people on Facebook, according to ABC News, with an approximate 8,000 deaths of Facebook users per day.

If you have the foresight, you can let Facebook know in advance whether or not you'd like your account to be "memorialized" or deleted, according to Facebook's official help page. A memorialized account is different from a regular Facebook account, for a few reasons. Some examples: the word "Remembering" will appear next to your name, the account won't show up in a web search of your name, and no one else will be able to log into it.

You can also choose to have your account permanently deleted. To do this, go to settings, then security, then "Legacy Contact" then click "have your account permanently deleted."

But what happens if you don't plan ahead for either of these options?

Your family member or friend can get it removed or memorialized for you. Facebook provides a link to fill out a request to remove a deceased person's account. Note that at the bottom of the form it states, "you'll need to upload documentation like a death certificate, the deceased person's birth certificate, or proof of authority." But they also add, "we extend our condolences and appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process."


Twitter also has an official stance on how to handle their accounts after death. Like Facebook, Twitter has a form to fill out. Unlike Facebook, they do not request proof of death up front. Also unlike Facebook, they do not offer their condolences. They note that they will follow up with the request via email.

And here's something else they note on their contact page:

Please note: We are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased.

Here are some celebrities' last tweets:

You can read more at The Tweet Hereafter.


Like Facebook, Instagram also offers a memorialized option. You could also have the account deleted by filling out a form in which you'll have to upload proof of death. Also like Facebook, they have the same note of, "we extend our condolences and appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process." (The same wording and process makes sense considering Facebook purchased Instagram).

Some family members choose not to memorialize or delete the account of their deceased loved ones. In doing this, they leave the account open for anyone — friends, family, fans — to leave well wishes for the deceased and/or their family. For example, this is the last photo Madison Holleran, track athlete, posted on her Instagram before she committed suicide an hour later:


Due to the nature of Snapchat, there's not much media that your account leaves behind after you stop using it. If you want the account itself deleted, that's a little tricky, because it appears that Snapchat has no official after death process. In order to delete an account, you need to log in with the username and password and manually delete it. But what if you don't have the password?

ATTN: reached out to Snapchat and will update when we receive a response.


On Pinterest's help page, you'll find an option to delete a deceased user's account. Should you choose that option, you'd send an email to [email protected], along with some pertinent information like your relationship to the deceased and proof of their passing.

Pinterest also adds, "We’re so very sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one."


Because Google owns YouTube, the process for requesting closure of an account is the same for both.

"People expect Google to keep their information safe, even in the event of their death," is the bold statement Gmail greets you with when you go to submit a request for closing or obtaining info from a deceased user's email. "We cannot provide passwords or other login details. Any decision to satisfy a request about a deceased user will be made only after a careful review," they add.

If you select a request regarding the account of the deceased, you'll find this ntensive social media request form. Not only do you need to provide proof of death, but you also need to provide a scan of your own government-issued ID or driver's license.

[H/T Irish Mirror]

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