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What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts When You Die



In our digital age, social media is an integral part of our lives, capturing personal memories and professional achievements. But what happens to these accounts when we pass away?


Understanding the fate of your digital legacy can help you make informed decisions, ensuring your online presence is managed according to your wishes, especially when it comes to business pages.


Personal Accounts

When a person dies, their personal social media accounts don’t automatically disappear.


Instead, each platform has its own policies for handling the accounts of deceased users:


Facebook

Facebook offers a few options:

  • Memorialisation: A trusted contact can request to have the account memorialised. This means the account remains visible, friends can leave messages and memories, but it can’t be logged into. The word "Remembering" is added to the profile.

  • Account Deletion: You can also opt to have your account permanently deleted upon death. This must be set up in the account settings while you’re still alive.

  • Legacy Contact: You can designate a legacy contact who will manage your memorialised account, including posts and friend requests.


Instagram

Similar to Facebook (since it’s owned by Facebook), Instagram also offers memorialisation.


A memorialised account will not appear in public spaces like Explore, and no one can log into it. Alternatively, immediate family members can request account removal.


Twitter

Twitter does not offer memorialisation but allows family members or authorised persons to request account deactivation.


LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows verified family members to close the account of a deceased person. This involves filling out a form and providing necessary details about the deceased.


Google

For Google services (like Gmail and YouTube), you can set up an Inactive Account Manager. This lets you decide what happens to your account after a period of inactivity, which could include sharing data with a trusted contact or having the account deleted.


Business Pages

Handling business pages after an owner's death is critical to maintaining the brand's integrity and ensuring continuity.


Here are some steps to consider:


Appoint an Admin or Successor

Designate a trusted person who can take over your business pages. Make sure this individual has the necessary login details and understands the responsibilities involved.


Create a Business Will

Detail in a legal document how you want your business's social media accounts to be handled. This can include instructions on posting, responding to messages, and making announcements about your passing.


Use a Social Media Management Tool

Platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer can help manage your social media accounts posthumously. By scheduling posts in advance and granting access to a team, you can ensure your business pages remain active and relevant.


Update Platform Settings

Ensure all your social media platforms have updated settings regarding account management after death. For example, on Facebook, you can assign a legacy contact for your business page, similar to your personal profile.


Planning for your digital legacy is a crucial part of modern estate planning. By understanding each platform’s policies and making arrangements for your business pages, you can ensure your online presence is managed respectfully and continues to represent your legacy after your death.


Take the time to set up these provisions now, so your loved ones and business associates are not left scrambling during an already difficult time.

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