Social Media and the Digital Afterlife

Have you ever been reminded by Facebook of the birthday of someone who has passed away? Some find it uncomfortable and sad, for others, it is a pleasant memory of those lost. This is life today. Social media and the online world plays a major role in our everyday lives, but have you ever considered what happens to your online presence once you die? It’s not something we necessarily want to think about, but it’s something you should think about. Our social media accounts may live online long after we are gone. Here are some interesting facts and information about the digital afterlife provided by Who Is Hosting This?.


The Digital Afterlife

  • There are 30+ million accounts on Facebook that belong to people that are deceased.
  • The year 2060 is the approximate point when there will be more deceased people on Facebook than live ones.
  • 47% of adults access social media websites, but only 20% have considered what happens to their online profiles after death.

Different companies have different policies for dealing with deceased users.

Twitter:
Twitter does not provide account access to anyone, regardless of the relationship to the deceased. They do however allow an authorized person to deactivate the account.

In order to deactivate the account, you must have:
  • Death certificate of deceased user
  • Your government-issued ID
  • Your relationship to the deceased user
  • If the name on the account and death certificate do not match, you must have evidence the account belongs to them
  • Links to a public obituary that provides proof of death


Facebook:
Facebook gives family and friends, the option to memorialize a deceased person’s profile or you can permanently delete it. To access a person’s profile, Facebook requires a court order and will, or durable power of attorney sent via mail.

In order to deactivate the account, you must have:
  • Proof of death
  • Link to timeline and email address of deceased user

 
Google:
Google does not guarantee they will grant access to a deceased user’s account, but they do recommend mailing them certain documents just in case.

In order to deactivate the account, you must have:
  • Death certificate of deceased
  • Government-issued ID
  • Your full name
  • Gmail address of the deceased
  • Physical mailing address

Death is something that we don’t like to think about, but it, unfortunately, comes to us all. If you are online and have any social media accounts, it may be a good idea to think about what you would want done with them when that time comes. At the very least, you should keep track of your usernames and passwords for your social media accounts and leave them with a trusted person. 

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.


Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


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O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
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Osage Beach, MO  65065

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