Facebook, Twitter and Death: What Happens When You Die?

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Fact: We're all going to die, and if you're on Facebook and/or Twitter, you may be curious as to what will happen to your account when you're gone.

Each social network has their own process and options to handle the pages and accounts of the deceased. Read on to learn more about each site's policy.

Twitter

When someone dies, it is the responsibility of a family member or person in charge of the deceased's estate to reach out to Twitter administration and let them know. Along with the information, Twitter will need this individual to provide them with the username of the deceased, a copy of the individual's ID, a copy of the deceased's death certificate, and a letter that contains information about the person making the request.

deceased twitter user

This person has the ability to decide whether they want the deceased's account completely deleted from the site or if they want a backup created of the deceased's public tweets.

Once Twitter has been notified, the deceased's account will no longer be found in the Who to Follow section and messages will not be accepted on the page. If a person wants to leave a tweet for a deceased individual, they will have to have login information for the deceased's account.

Facebook

The process for a deceased person's Facebook account is very similar to that of Twitter. First, anyone can let Facebook know about a deceased user by reporting it directly to them. Facebook will then memorialize the account, which means that nobody will be able to log into the account and only confirmed friends at the time of memorializing will be able to see the profile of the deceased.

dead facebook user

Unlike Twitter, Facebook allows the confirmed friends to post information and photos on the wall of the deceased, and many people use this as a way to share their thoughts and feelings as well as find some closure.

Facebook also allows an immediate family member to request that the deceased's account be completely removed from the site. In order to do this, Facebook requires that you verify your identity and relationship to the deceased by providing the deceased's birth and death certificate and proof that you're a lawful representative of the deceased.

If an individual's profile has been memorialised but they are still appearing in the People You May Know section, you need to report this to Facebook immediately so they can remedy the situation.

Death is not a pleasant topic for most people, and knowing what will happen to your social media accounts when you pass is not something that many people think about on a daily basis. If you have certain plans put in place for your social networking accounts after you die, you need to add this information to you will so that it's documented. It's also a good idea to share this information with friends and family members so that everyone knows about your wishes.

If someone you love has passed away and they have a Facebook and/or Twitter account, make sure that you let the social networks know as soon as possible so that the proper steps can be taken.

Sarah Dunbar works for the online marketing team at SEOMap. Visit our website to learn more.

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