What Happens To People’s Online Accounts When They Die?
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, April 22, 2020 5:00pm
Photos from Unsplash
A chunk of our lives are tied to social media. We post the important events and random stuff on our timelines and feeds. It is full of posts and messages that are highly personal, almost like a secret. But what would happen to a social media account when its user (God-forbid) dies?
Memorialization on Facebook and Instagram
Social media apps like Facebook understands death is unforeseen and inevitable so to give its users a “last will”. Facebook has a Legacy Contact feature which allows a person to assign a legacy contact, a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away. Just go to the General Settings in the settings option. You’ll find Memorialization Settings where you can choose a friend to manage your account after you’ve passed away.
Should the unexpected happen, and a person hasn’t chosen legacy contacts, someone can report about the loss through a Memorialization Request. A deceased user’s memorialized account cannot be logged into, preventing the account from getting hacked. An immediate family member can also opt to request Facebook to delete the account.
Instagram almost has the same process as Facebook. You just have to fill out a form to let the developers know of the unfortunate circumstance.
Erasing Memories on Twitter
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter has a different way of dealing with the situation. Instead of memorialization, this social networking site suggests to leave the account as it is or deactivate the person’s. You can contact Twitter for the forms and they can email you the needed details and requirements for an account’s deactivation.
Twitter also provides instructions for incapacitated users but they would verify the details throroughly to avoid any false reports.
Accessing Email Accounts
Social media accounts are not the only concerns when a person dies. The personal email accounts are also taken into discussion, but this would be a thorough investigation. Google asks several documents if you wish to obtain data from an account or close it personally. Google verifies the request and details before they could take any further action as it values their users’ privacy.
As for Yahoo!, they do not provide any information like passwords or access to a deceased person’s account. They could only process the request on permanently deleting the account for privacy purposes.
We’ve incorporated much of our lives on the Internet. It should be a part of our agenda how to secure them when we are not around to tend to any of our social media and email accounts. But what’s more important is to spend some time away from keyboard and our phones to spend time on things that really matter.