Many people join social networking sites every day without giving any thought to what happens to their social media accounts when they pass away. When you participate in social media, it gives you a way to stay in touch with family and friends. You can post pictures, videos, personal thoughts and details about your hopes and dreams. What happens to all this information when you pass away?
The answer to this question depends on what you do between now and in the future. Different platforms will handle your account in different ways if you don’t make the decisions ahead of time.
How Different Platforms Handle Accounts of the Deceased
Each platform has its own way of handling the accounts of those who have passed, which may not be the way you would want them handled. Here are some examples:
- Facebook – You can decide ahead of time to have your page memorialized or deleted. If you want it to be a memorial page, you will need to decide ahead of time who your legacy contact will be. If you don’t make this decision before you pass, family members may request that your page is memorialized. If no one contacts Facebook to let them know you have passed, your profile will remain active.
- Twitter – A family member can contact Twitter and ask to have your account deactivated upon providing proof of death. Twitter is unable to give account access to anyone else on your behalf after your death. Your loved ones may request the removal of images or videos and Twitter will consider these requests. Twitter also may delete an account after six months of inactivity.
- Instagram – On this platform, your account can be either memorialized or deleted, but you are not able to make this decision ahead of time. An account can be memorialized upon proof of death. Only verified family members can request to delete your account.
- LinkedIn – Profiles are deleted after proof of death is sent to LinkedIn along with the deceased person’s username and last place of employment.
- Google – This platform allows you to set up an Inactive Account Manager for your account in order to let Google know who should have access to your information and whether you want your account deleted in the event of your death.
Plan Ahead and Take Charge
You should be the one to decide whether your accounts are deleted, deactivated or left in place. When you plan ahead with the help of an estate planner, your digital presence is treated like any of your other personal possessions.
You can decide how your accounts will be handled and which relatives or friends will have access to your accounts after you pass away. When you decide on how to handle your digital accounts, take into consideration the email accounts, social media accounts, and blogs that you have. Decide how you want these accounts handled and document your wishes. It is the only way you can be sure that your digital accounts will be correctly managed, memorialized, or deleted.