Most people now have a social media account. However, when they pass away, that social media account doesn't just disappear. Instead, each platform has a unique process for closing them down if there's a death.
Therefore, the owner of the account and their executor should understand how to handle social media accounts following a death. This guide will explain digital legacy policies and what happens to social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok after you die.
What is a digital legacy policy?
Digital legacy policies allow social media users to nominate a caretaker who will manage their social media accounts after they pass away. The policy depends on the social media platform. For example, Facebook allows you to nominate a Facebook legacy contact and create a Facebook memorial profile.
What happens to your Facebook after you die?
You can decide what happens to your Facebook account after you pass away. You can either nominate a legacy contact or request to have your profile permanently deleted. If you don't choose an option, Facebook will memorialise the account if they become aware of your passing.
To nominate a legacy contact, go to your Facebook account's general settings and click on the 'Memorialisation' settings. The legacy contact you choose will be responsible for managing your memorial account.
When a Facebook profile becomes memorialised, the word 'Remembering" goes in front of the deceased person's name. Then the legacy contact will manage and moderate tributes on the profile, including old photos and posts.
What happens to your Twitter after you die?
According to Twitter's website, they can work with either the executor of the Will or Next of Kin to deactivate an account. However, they don't provide access to the account regardless of their relationship with the person who dies. You can request the removal of a deceased user's account here.
After you submit your request, they will email you instructions to provide more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of the executor's ID, and a copy of the death certificate. This step is mandatory to ensure there are no false reports.
What happens to your LinkedIn after you die?
Like Facebook, someone authorised to act on behalf of the deceased member can request the account memorialised or deleted. If you don't have the necessary authorisation, you can only report a member as dead.
Once you memorialise the account, access is locked. LinkedIn doesn't disclose any usernames or passwords to anyone, including family. LinkedIn also requires a copy of the death certificate and legal documents to show you have the authority to act on behalf of the member.
What happens to your Instagram after you die?
Instagram accounts can be deleted or memorialised at the request of an immediate family member after you die. They will honour the account after receiving a valid request. Similar to Facebook and LinkedIn, they protect the privacy of the deceased person by securing the account.
Verified immediate family members may request the removal of a loved one's Instagram account. They would need to prove they are an immediate family member, such as a death certificate or proof of authority representing the deceased person's estate.
What happens to your Google account after you die?
Google suggests their Inactive Account Manager tool to let them know who should access your information and whether the account should be deleted if the user passes away. They can work with immediate family members and representatives to close the account.
In any case, their primary concern is to keep people's information secure, safe and private. Therefore, Google will not provide passwords or login details. Google will decide to meet the request about a deceased user only after they carefully review the request.
With more and more digital assets becoming a part of estates, it's important to make sure that family or the named executor of your Will understands how to access each account. To get started organising your Will and planning your estate online, check out Willed.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.