With our day-to-day functions, jobs and memories now taking place online, the question of what will happen to your social media once you are no longer here has become increasingly important.
It is worth thinking about how you may want to save your digital content for family and friends who might want to access it after your death. A lot of platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have good tools that enables you to download everything that you have on that platform.
The reason for doing this is that once you are gone, your family and friends may find it a lot harder to access your account than they anticipated. Many social media platforms, especially now, have lengthy terms of service agreements that prevent others from accessing your account.
Sites such as Facebook now have “legacy contacts” which enables you to set who can access and manage your account once you die. They can choose whether they leave your account active to keep a picture bank of your memories, a memorial account or to permanently delete the account.
A legacy contact can:
- Change their profile and cover photos
- Respond to friend requests
- Pin tribute posts to their Facebook memorial page
- Request to remove the page
A legacy contact cannot:
- Post as the deceased
- Send messages on their account
- Remove existing friends or send new friend requests
- Remove any posts, shared items, or photos
- Add a new legacy contact
The danger of not doing anything can impact the sites algorithm in an upsetting or unsettling way. There can also be a lengthy process when deleting the accounts after your loved one has passed. You may need to:
1. Contact social media sites – to let sites know that the individual has passed away, you will need the following information:
- Their social media username
- Their email address
- Their full name
- Proof of death – a death certificate, obituary or death notice
- Proof of your identity – driver’s licence or passport
- Proof of your relationship with the deceased – a copy of the will if it names you as an administrator or beneficiary, or a birth or marriage certificate
2. Send a death certificate – you may need to send a copy of the death certificate to the social media site as confirmation.
3. Log in and download or save everything you want to keep – you’ll need their username and password to do this. Ask a friend to help if you’re not sure how to log in, or if it’s too upsetting for you. If you can’t decide whether to keep something, save it anyway.
Please keep in mind that different social media accounts may require different information to allow you to access or close a profile.
This guide is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like to discuss anything in this article, please get in touch.