What Happens to Social Media Accounts When You Die?

The rapid and exponential rise in the popularity of social media accounts over the last 10 years has inevitably raised some new problems for our society to deal with and one of these thorny issues is, what happens to your social media accounts when you die?

Facebook is not yet 12 years old, however, it is estimated that at least 10 million people have passed away since creating accounts. The result is that people can still tag an individual who has died, post on their wall or wish them a happy birthday which can be distressing for loved ones.

Fortunately, this issue is being addressed by the major social media platforms.

Facebook

Facebook users can choose in advance if they’d like their profile to exist as a memorial, or if they wish for it to close down in the event of their passing. Users are also able to set up a “Legacy Contact”, someone who will be given limited access to your profile after you die. After your contact posts a final message, your profile can be turned into a memorial where people can post tributes.

Twitter

Twitter will start deleting accounts after six months of inactivity. Whether your account is deleted or deactivated, your data will be interred with your profile, and will typically only be unearthed if needed for a legal investigation.

Instagram

As Facebook owns Instagram, there are a number of similarities in actions that can be taken after you die.  While your account can be memorialised, people will not be allowed to log in as the deceased. Changes to likes, who the account follows and what pictures are currently uploaded are also locked.

E-mail accounts

Gmail will allow friends and family to access content held in a deceased person’s email. Users can also set an “Inactive Account Manager”, which either deletes or shares your account after a certain amount of time has passed.

Yahoo

Yahoo lets loved ones apply for the right to close the email of someone who has passed away.

Apple

iTunes and iCloud will not allow access to be shared with anyone in the event of your passing, but following the production of a death certificate, Apple will shut down an account of the deceased.

We know that there are many things to deal with after the passing of a loved one, and social media may be the last thing on your mind. However at UK Special Risks, providers of headstone insurance, we hope that this article has helped you to come to a decision on what to do with the accounts associated with your loved ones.

If you choose to memorialise a loved one with a headstone, the team at UK Special Risks are ready to help make sure that the gravestone remains in good repair and a fitting memorial. If you have any questions about headstone insurance, please visit our website www.headstoneinsurance.co.uk or call 01634 862525 and one of our advisors will be happy to discuss your insurance requirements.