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WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS WHEN YOU DIE?

Back in 2004, Marc Zuckerberg launched Facebook with his college roommates. Little did we know at that time that this tool would change the way we engage with each other, forever. All of this, did start as a hobby for us, but today, many people earn a living off the social media accounts. The likes of influencers, social media experts etc. are growing each day. Our digital identities are as relevant as our physical personalities these days. So, I thought it’d make sense to discuss what happens to your social media accounts when you die?

An oxford study estimates that number of dead will outnumber the living on Facebook by 2070. Given the surge in penetration of Facebook around 2010-2015, it can be presumed that people who were early adopters of the platform may not be around during 2070s as suggested by Oxford study. So, let’s quickly try to explore what’s next!

What happens to your social media accounts when you die?

Since no one (including the platform owners) thought of such a situation, there isn’t much thought given to this. However, while surfing the web, I could find that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have some sort of death policy (more on that in a while). However, LinkedIn, doesn’t offer any such provision and your account remains active even after you have risen much above all this Moh Maaya (Worldly possessions).

Digging into the death policy for key social networks and how to set it up if need be:

Facebook:

There is something called memorialization settings on Facebook. Simply head over to settings and privacy–> settings–> memorialization settings to access this.

In this section you have a couple of options:

  • Nominating someone to look after your account:
    • You can pick a trustworthy contact to manage social media on your behalf after your death.
    • Access to your profile is restricted in this case and the nominee can only change your profile picture, manage tribute posts, tweak privacy settings, delete posts and remove tags.
    • Nominee can also request for removal of your account and respond to friend requests on your behalf.
    • You can also chose if you want the nominee to be able to download all the content of your profile (photos, videos and about section)
What happens to your social media accounts when you die: Facebook
Memorialization Settings of Facebook

Once you pick a contact, a messenger text is sent to them intimating them.

What happens to your social media accounts when you die: Facebook
  • Deleting your account:
    • There is a possibility of deleting your account after your death. Your nominee may be able to do so on your behalf.
    • Facebook seeks death certificate as a proof of your demise. Once submitted, your entire profile will be deleted forever.
What happens to your social media accounts when you die: Facebook

Instagram:

Instagram also offers you two alternatives:

  • Memorializing the account:
    • Instagram allows you to memorialize one’s account once you share the proof of their death such as a link to an obituary or news article.
    • You need to access the contact us page of Instagram to highlight this.
What happens to your social media accounts when you die: Instagram
Memorialized Account
  • Removing Account:
    • Verified immediate family members may request the removal of a loved one’s account from Instagram. When you submit a request for removal, Instagram requires a proof that you’re an immediate family member of the deceased person, such as:
      • The deceased person’s birth certificate.
      • The deceased person’s death certificate.
      • Proof of authority under local law that you are the lawful representative of the deceased person, or his/her estate.

Twitter:

Apart from the death policy, which is somewhat similar to other social networks we have discussed, twitter also has a provision of deleting the account for an incapacitated person. The procedure is pretty much the same wherein you provide proof of death, proof of relationship with the deceased and copy of a Power of Attorney authorizing you to act on the account holder’s behalf.

Twitter only offers deletion of account as an alternative and NOT memorialization.

Finally..

Instances of identity theft are on a rise. Since there is no provision of passing your digital assets to your heirs as of now, it is advisable to plan for the inevitable when it comes to social media. You never know what shape a deceased person’s account could take. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

rgvdudeja
A techno manager by profession and a hardcore geek at heart. I love to poke my nose into tasks where other usually gave up on. My hobbies include, reading about latest trends in tech industry, playing guitar and yes, memes!
http://pandatechiein.wordpress.com

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