Have you ever wondered what happens to your social media accounts after your death? The internet and thus social media has played a major role in almost everybody’s life for the past decade. If we assume this ‘social media influence’ to continue for decades from now, what will happen to our posts, videos, and photos after we die? Or more accurately, what are the Digital Legacy Policies for these websites?
Many social media users have passed away and their accounts are still around. How does the algorithm behind these websites and algorithms know if the user is alive or not? Does it base its assumption that the user is dead based on a sudden decline in usage? This cannot hold true for all accounts as some people choose to go on a social media detox for months.
Some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have introduced a feature known as Memorialization. Networking platform LinkedIn also has a memorialization feature. Let’s take a look at some of the Digital Legacy Policies of some popular websites.
Memorializing a Facebook Account
Users are given an option to choose a Legacy Contact. The steps in choosing a Legacy Contact are pretty simple and if you are interested to know more about it, have a look at our blog post on How to Memorialize a Facebook Account.
Once a Facebook user passes away and the Legacy Contact informs Facebook of their loved one’s death, Facebook turns the deceased user’s Facebook profile into a Memorialized account. Nobody can log in to a memorialized account, not even the Legacy contact. The word ‘Remembering’ appears before the person’s name in the profile. Friends and family members can post photos, videos, and messages on the memorialized Facebook profile.
If a user does not want their Facebook profile or page to be memorialized, they can instruct their Legacy Contact to delete the account.
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Memorializing an Instagram Account
Like its parent company, Instagram also allows its users to set a Legacy Contact to manage their profiles after they are gone. The steps involving Choosing a Legacy Contact are simple and if you are curious to know more, have a look at our blog post on How to Memorialize an Instagram Account.
A Memorialized Instagram account will not appear in the ‘events’ and ‘people you may know’ list. The word ‘Remembering’ will appear before the person’s name in the profile. Nobody can add or delete the user’s photos, not even the Legacy Contact. Nor can they access the profile.
A Legacy Contact must send proof of death to Instagram and/or Facebook before turning the deceased user’s profile into a Memorialized account. Proof of death may include a death certificate or a link to the obituary.
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Google Inactive Account Manager
Google does not have the feature of Memorializing its deceased user’s account. The users can set up to 10 people as their Legacy Contacts. Google monitors accounts for inactivity. If a particular user’s account has been inactive for over a year, Google sends an email to the Legacy Contacts along with the links of files to be downloaded.
While setting up a Legacy Contact, the user has to decide what files, documents or other media are to be shared with their next-of-kin – this includes data on Google drives and Youtube. On account of inactivity, Google sends an intimation to these contacts, giving them three months to download the shared data. The deceased/inactive user’s account is then permanently deleted.
Closing A Twitter Account
Twitter has no option to memorialize a deceased user’s account. The next-of-kin can request Twitter to remove their deceased loved one’s account for good. The documents needed for this request include a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the next-of-kin’s ID, and details of the deceased user.
Memorializing a LinkedIn Account
Networking platform LinkedIn gives the next-of-kin two options to choose from: memorialize or close the account of a deceased loved one. Further, if someone is not authorized to act on behalf of a deceased LinkedIn member, they can still report their death to LinkedIn by providing necessary details.
The details needed to submit such a request to LinkedIn includes:
- Member’s full name, email ID, and a link to their LinkedIn profile
- Relationship of the reportee to the deceased
- Date of their passing and a link to their obituary
Subscription accounts like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix of a deceased person can be canceled or closed by submitting a request to their customer care email IDs. Documents to submit along with the request include a copy of the death certificate, ID, and a link to their Obituary.
NOTE: If not a link to the obituary, a scanned copy of the newspaper clipping announcing their death will suffice.
Amazon accounts can be shared between users, such as an Amazon Prime Video account or a Kindle Account. However, if the main account holder passes away, retrieving it can be hard unless the user left behind the login credentials for the account. Amazon currently does not have a legacy policy in place for their accounts.
eBay’s user agreement states that account transfer is not allowed. In case you have to close the account of a deceased person, you can contact their customer support team.
How To Close A PayPal Account
When it comes to a PayPal account, the procedure for closing it is different when it comes to the account of a deceased person. Only the executor/administrator of an estate has the right to request the closing of the deceased’s account.
When a Youtuber dies, there is no policy that allows their videos to stay up. As it isn’t stated how long videos can stay up, the accounts are sometimes deleted when they remain inactive for an extended period of time. To gain access to the video’s posted by a loved one, you have to try contacting Youtube
Since iTunes does not give you the ownership of items that you might’ve even downloaded and bought, it’s ownership remains with Apple. As such, these assets cannot be transferred normally. By making use of Apple’s Home Sharing feature, people in the same household can access a common ‘Apple Library’
Instead of searching for each social media organization’s Legacy Policies and assigning someone to manage it for you, you can create a Digital Will or a Digital Estate Plan and assign a Digital Executor to handle all your accounts.
If you want a specific person to handle some of your accounts (you might be a millennial and want your close friend to handle your Instagram and Facebook account), you can add these instructions in your planning document.
Sign up with Clocr to get started with your own Digital Estate Plane