What to do with someone’s social media accounts after they have passed away
When a loved one passes away, this can undoubtedly be a difficult time. You may not have had time to address your loved one’s social media accounts.
We have prepared this useful guide to dealing with some of the larger social media platforms. This guide includes guidance for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok accounts.
This guide will help you to decide what to do with each of these social media accounts. It includes options like creating an online memorial, or deleting the social media accounts forever, known as a digital legacy.
Where your loved one has a Facebook profile, you can either memorialise or remove the account completely. Sometimes, a person will have updated their profile details during their lifetime to name someone called a Legacy Contact. A Legacy Contact can look after someone’s profile when they have passed away.
If a Legacy Contact has been appointed, this person should login into their own Facebook account, and they can then manage the deceased person’s profile from the Facebook Help Center.
What can a Legacy Contact do?
A legacy contact can update your profile picture and cover photo. They can also pin a post on your profile, with a final message to remember you to family and friends.
Alternatively, a Legacy Contact can request that an account be deleted.
A Legacy Contact may also be able to download the content from a deceased person’s profile, if authorised.
They are unable to login to the account, nor make any other changes to the profile. This includes making new posts or adding/removing friends.
A Legacy Contact can look after an account by contacting Facebook from their Help Center. They will need to upload a copy of the Death Certificate and provide any other information requested by Facebook.
My loved one did not name a Legacy Contact. What should I do?
You can contact Facebook from their Help Center to either memorialise or delete an account. You will need to login to your own account to do this. Once logged in, you can provide your loved one’s details, their profile link, and attach a copy Death Certificate.
Memorialising an account
Facebook are unable to provide anyone with access to a deceased person’s account. This is regardless of your relationship to the deceased or the circumstances in which access may be required.
By memorialising an account, the profile will remain on Facebook for friends and family to remember and share memories. The profile will have the word ‘Remembering’ next to the person’s name on their profile. Facebook friends may be able to share memories on the page, although this depends on the account privacy settings. Any existing profile contents will be visible to the same audience as it was during the person’s lifetime.
A memorialised profile will not appear in ads, birthday reminders or suggestions for people you may know.
For security reasons, no-one can log in to the account of a memorialised profile.
Deleting an account
Your loved one may have requested that Facebook deletes their account after their death. The profile and all its content will be deleted once Facebook has been notified of their death.
You can request that Facebook deletes the account, if no Legacy Contact was named to do this.
If you wish to close your loved one’s X account, you can contact X via their Help Center. There will be a link for you to follow to request the account be closed. Select the option indicating the person’s passing, and complete yours and your loved one’s personal and account details.
After submitting your request, X will contact you. They may request a copy of the Death Certificate and your own ID.
X can then arrange to close the account. It will no longer be visible on X and cannot be searched for online.
For security reasons, X are unable to provide anyone with access to a deceased person’s account. This is regardless of their relationship to the deceased or the circumstances in which access may be required.
If your loved one has an Instagram account, you may request Instagram to memorialise it, similar to Facebook’s process. Alternatively, you can request that Instagram delete the account.
Memorialise an account
You can contact Instagram via their Help Center to memorialise the account. You will need to login to your own profile to do this. Instagram will need your own details and those of your loved one, together with a copy of the death certificate or a link to an obituary.
Remove an account
If you wish to remove the account of a loved one from Instagram, you can submit a request via the Instagram Help Center. You will need to provide Instagram with the deceased person’s Birth and Death Certificates, and proof that you are the legal representative of the deceased person or their estate.
If your loved one held a Snapchat account, it is possible to delete the account following the steps in Snapchat Support.
Go to the Snapchat Support webpage, and click on Contact Us, followed by ‘I want to report a safety concern’. Click that you are concerned about someone else’s Snapchat account, and that the person passed away. You can then follow the steps outlined to access the account and request Snapchat to close the account.
It is not possible to memorialise a Snapchat account.
If you are the estate’s legal representative, you can request LinkedIn to close your loved one’s account. Alternatively, you may choose to memorialise the account.
Help is available in the LinkedIn support centre. If you do not want to close the account and remove it from LinkedIn, you can memorialise the account as a way of the person’s account remaining on LinkedIn for others to see and remember that person.
If you are not named as the legal representative, you can still report the death to LinkedIn. This will hide the account from being searched or being visible on LinkedIn.
Memorialise an account
LinkedIn will keep the account visible, but will lock access to the account. They will mark the account as Memorialised.
Closing an account
LinkedIn will completely remove the account from their website, and it will no longer be visible.
What you need to do
If you wish to close or memorialise the account, you will need the following information:
- The deceased’s full name
- Their LinkedIn profile link or URL – You can find the profile link or URL by searching their LinkedIn profile via a search engine or by searching their name on LinkedIn
- Their e-mail address
- Their date of death
- Link to an obituary or other notification of death
- Your relationship to the deceased
- Death certificate
- Grant of representation (either a Grant of Probate, or Grant of Letters of Administration)
If your loved one has an account with YouTube, or their own YouTube channel, it will be linked to their Google+ account, which is a part of Google. You can either close the account by logging into their Google+ account, if you have their login details, or by contacting Google to request that the YouTube account be closed.
A Google search of “Deceased user’s Google account” will give you a link to the contact page for you to complete the request to close the account.
You should select ‘Close the account of a deceased user’ as one of the options, and complete the information below, attaching a copy of the Death Certificate and your own ID. You can also include your wish to close the YouTube account in the Additional Comments box before submitting your form.
YouTube does not have the option to memorialise an account after someone has passed away.
TikTok does not have the option to either close or memorialise a social media account through their website or app.
You can, however, contact TikTok by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting that the account be closed. You should include in your e-mail your full name and relationship to your loved one, their full name and a link to their TikTok profile, a copy of your ID (preferably a passport or driving licence), and attach a copy of the Death Certificate.
TikTok will let you know how to close the account.