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What happens to your Social Media when you die?

It’s an odd thought, but when you die, your social media accounts don’t die with you.

30 million people with Facebook profiles died in the first ten years since Facebook was launched – a social media graveyard in a far-off digital land.

Whilst things change all.the.time– we’ve broken down what is supposed to happen when you die unexpectedly through the major social platforms you may be using:

Facebook

Although Facebook has clear cut guidance, the rules aren’t that easy to navigate.

If you die, and your friends and family don’t let Facebook know then, well, then nothing happens.

But a friend or acquaintance can let Facebook know you’ve died, and they will memorialise your account.

This turns your profile into a space where family and friends can post and share memories about you but things like your birthday, and memories, won’t pop up in their timeline anymore. It’s the default option for Facebook.

However, if a family member wants your account deleted it gets far more complicated.

Facebook requests information and documents from the Executor and it isn’t an immediate process.

The best way you can avoid this happening is to use the very easy Facebook settings you already have access to.

On Facebook you can add a legacy contact at any time. This person can’t read your messages (phew!) but they can post a pinned post to your account if you die, request your account is removed, download your posts and change your profile photos.

If you know you’d just want your account deleted then you can go into your Facebook settings and select this option (use google as your friend here!). As soon as a loved one lets Facebook know you’ve died, your profile will automatically be deleted.

This makes life far easier for your family who will want to get on with other things.

Instagram

Instagram will offer the same options to family members as Facebook – memorialising your account or deleting it – but the process is, again, complicated for your family members.

Unfortunately, Instagram don’t have a legacy contact option, so there’s little you can do to prepare beyond expressing your preference to your Executor in advance.

If your family members choose to memorialise your account, the key benefit is that it becomes protected from hacking and security breaches – protecting key information that could lead to identify fraud.

Twitter

Twitter, on the other hand, has been criticised over its handling of accounts after someone dies. Twitter will remove an account providing ID and proof of death is provided by a family member, but they don’t provide a memorialisation option – meaning it’s all or nothing.

If that account isn’t deleted, it remains open to fraud.

If you were an avid Twitter user, your Executor might not be sure what to do here, so it’s important you let them know your wishes – whilst considering the risks of maintaining an open account after your death. So, things you can do today:

  • Take advantage of the legacy contact options offered via your Facebook account

  • Make sure you let your executor know your wishes around your Social Media accounts

  • Be vigilant with the data and information you share via your Social Media profile whilst you are here, being mindful that identify theft via social media (dead or alive!) is a serious possibility

Keep an eye on our upcoming blogs for more info like this or visit our website to get started with your own Will today.