Social media has become an important feature in most of our lives.
Whether it is to stay connected to our friends and family, keep up on current events, or share our lives, most of us have at least one social media profile. Many of us have several.
But what happens to these accounts when we pass away? Well, each platform has their own rules and processes for this inevitability. Some keep it simple, while others have more confusing or complex ways of handling death. Let’s explore them individually, and see whether or not there is a solution that works for them all.
What Happens To My Facebook When I Die?
Facebook accounts can be memorialized or deleted upon death. This is a fairly straightforward process, and has been in place for some time. However, as straightforward as it is, there are plenty of steps that have to be taken first.
If you wish for a specific action to be taken regarding your Facebook account after you die, you will need to establish a “legacy contact.” The legacy contact you assign will have the ability, once your death is confirmed by Meta, to either delete or set up your profile as a “memorial”. If you elect to have your profile deleted, then all the account details, photos, and other data will be removed from public access forever. If you choose to have a memorialized profile, your Facebook account will remain visible, and turn into a memorial for you, with the word “Remembering” next to your name. Think of it as the social media equivalent of a funeral parlor memorial page.
In order to memorialize a Facebook profile, a close loved one will have to contact Meta and confirm your passing. This will require some information and a copy of your death certificate. Once this is approved, your profile will be memorialized. It would be best if you had your legacy contact make these arrangements, so no further verification would need to take place.
What Happens to My Instagram Account When I Die?
Because Instagram is owned by Meta, the same rules apply as they do for Facebook. Instagram accounts can be memorialized or deleted upon death. Again, it is important to have a legacy contact assigned to your IG account so they can easily carry out your wishes upon passing.
Instagram profiles will act much in the same way Facebook profiles do once they are memorialized. Your profile will serve as a digital memorial for your friends and loved ones to remember you by, should you choose to do this.
Remember, if you decide to have your profile deleted once you die, your photos and videos will be removed forever. If you want this content to live on, it is a good idea to move it to cloud storage or instruct your legacy contact to make other arrangements for your profile. You can easily provide the necessary details in a digital will.
What Happens to My TikTok Account When I Die?
The first two platforms we discussed are both owned by Meta, so the policies about user profiles after death are the same. TikTok is not owned by Meta, and is a newer social media tool than Facebook or Instagram. So what is TikTok's policy regarding the accounts of those that have passed away?
TikTok has no policy or process for handling these accounts. There is no memorialized TikTok profile option available, so the only actions that can be taken upon a user’s death would be to either leave the account active, delete it prior to your passing, or leave instructions in your digital will for an executor to handle the account in the manner you desire.
At some point in the future, TikTok may create memorialized profiles, but there has been no announced plans for this feature, and no official word from the company regarding it.
What Happens to My Snapchat Account When I Die?
Snapchat has made many strides in recent years to mature as a platform. One more interesting development they have undertaken is allowing for account deletion upon death. There are two different ways this can take place.
In one instance, a user account that is completely inactive for 30 consecutive days will be automatically deactivated by Snapchat. After 30 days of deactivation, if no action is taken, the account will be permanently deleted. This option is usually reserved for instances of sudden or unexpected deaths, as many are not thinking ahead on accounts like these.
The other option is that someone close to the user can report their death to Snapchat. This option will, after verification is completed, skip the deactivation stage and permanently delete the account. If you have planned ahead and created a digital will, you can instruct your executors to take this action.
What Happens to My Twitter Account When I Die?
Much like most of the social media platforms listed above, Twitter will deactivate an account postmortem, upon request. An immediate family member or someone authorized to act on behalf of the deceased must send in their own ID and information about the deceased, including a copy of the death certificate, if they wish to close the account. Twitter also has to contend with images or tweets published before or after a person’s death.
Twitter, due to their popularity in the news industry, has some unique policies regarding posts containing photos or videos. In some cases, Twitter will remove an image that shows a critical injury, for example. In other cases, it will refuse. “When reviewing such media removal requests,” the company warns, “Twitter considers public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not be able to honor every request.”
What Happens to My YouTube Channel When I Die?
YouTube, because it is owned and operated by Google, allows users to take advantage of Google’s “inactive account manager” tool. This tool allows users to specify actions that can or should be taken after a certain period of inactivity on the platform.
Options for an inactive account include: sending certain data to a specified email address or even shutting down the account. Be aware that if a user has not taken advantage of this tool, then close family or friends can still gain access. They would need to contact Google and provide proof of death, along with some other basic information.
Managing Your Social Media Profiles After You Die
As much as they try, social media companies do not have a simple way to have your accounts managed to your wishes after you pass away. The verification process takes time and effort on the part of your loved ones, which makes their time of mourning that much more burdensome.
A digital will from DigitalWill.com gives you the flexibility to transfer the account information you want to the executors of your choosing. This means they will be able to receive your instructions along with your account information, bypassing this form of ‘digital probate’. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your grieving loved ones aren’t scrambling to manage your digital footprint.
Get your digital will today and save your loved ones the time and hassle of dealing with the big social media companies today.