What happens to your social media accounts when you die?

At present, the UK has over 38 million active social media users. The popularity boom for social media across all ages means it has become an integral part of our lives, whether intentional or not. Social media is also fast becoming a significant way to remember loved ones when they pass…

Facebook
Facebook allows you to appoint a ‘Legacy Contact’ who will look after your account when you die. The Legacy Contact section can be found by clicking the arrow at the top right, then going to Settings, General, Manage Account and finally selecting Legacy Contact.
Your chosen legacy contact will be able to pin posts on your timeline, update your profile picture, request to have your account removed and respond to friend requests. However, they won’t be able to post anything, remove / add friends, change past posts on your timeline or view your inbox messages.

When choosing your legacy contact, you also have the option to allow them to download a copy of what you shared on Facebook. This includes timeline posts, shared posts, videos and the About section, but it doesn’t include your messages.

Once you’ve chosen your legacy contact, Facebook will notify once a year to check whether or not you still want that person as your legacy contact. If you don’t want to choose a legacy contact, then your family can request to have your account deleted instead.

In the event of your passing, your Facebook account can be memorialised. The word ‘Remembering’ will appear just before your name to signify that your account has been memorialised. No one will be able to login to this account, but people may still post on your timeline from their own accounts to write tributes and share posts.

Twitter
At present, there isn’t a memorialisation option for Twitter accounts, although your friends and family can request to have your account removed. Once your loved ones have submitted a privacy form requesting the deactivation of your account, Twitter will send a confirmation email with further instructions.

Instagram
Instagram also offers the option to memorialise a loved one’s account. Your friends and family can also request the removal of your Instagram account providing they have proof of your passing such as your death certificate or proof that they’re your lawful representative.
Once memorialised, your account can’t be changed – this includes followers, likes, tags, posts and comments. Your posts are only visible to your chosen audience. For example, if your profile was set to private then it will remain private.

Should you include social media details in your Will?
In conclusion, you’re very much in control as to what happens to your social media accounts when you die – you just need to make preparations in advance.

It can be upsetting for loved ones to see your social accounts after you’ve gone. That’s why it’s always a good idea to leave certain details in your Will such as links to your social media accounts and other online entities.

For guidance on including social media account details in your Will please give us a call on 01243 216900 or e-mail us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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