Social Media Policies When You Die

Death not only affects our friends and family members anymore. When someone dies, there are literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of people – wondering – where did that person go? Posts go unwritten and shared, but that person keeps showing up in our feeds, on our friends list and even when we go to their profile. Why? Well, because most likely that person died, and their profile is still sitting in cyberspace, very much still alive. What happens to the Social Media Policies when you die?

The Reasoner covered this topic in 2009 in the form of asking: If you die, what will happen to your online accounts?

New rules have been put in place, recently – by most of the social media sites to modify this uncomfortable situation. I mean, imagine how family members feel every time they log into Facebook or Twitter and see their deceased relatives profiles or tweets over and over, knowing this person they loved, has moved on.

This is what prompted some of the most popular media sites to take action. Even though a huge percentage of Facebook users profiles are not alive – most offer alternatives to try to dissuade this painful situation.


It has been estimated that in 2010, over five million profiles are of deceased people. With the growth they have experienced, hitting a recent 700 million users, it’s no wonder.

Facebook is having a really hard time keeping up with the deceased, however there is an alternative, first if you are a family member, and second, if you have all the ‘right stuff’ you can memorialize your loved one’s profile.

You have to fill a form, and give them the members user name, password and a death certificate and they’ll close the account to new friends, so that existing friends and family can view the posts, add condolences, and the profile will no longer show up in searches.

Facebook also offers an ‘If I Die’ application that will allow a ‘live’ member to choose 3 friends that will be given access to their profile, as well as instructions on what the user wants. (Account deleted or memorialized).


Twitter offers an easier solution to removing an account/profile, as keeping a twitter account open is even less sensible than Facebook because just tweets are stored there. Twitter allows deletion of a family members account with notification of death by link to an obituary, or death certificate, as well as the members username and password. Just go to Twitter’s help section for more instructions and where to send information.

Social Media Policies When You Die – Infographics

Here is the now extremely popular infographics that we created showing how to prepare for death in the social media policy-enforced world:

An Illustrated Guide to Preparing for Death - Social Media Policies after you die


MySpace, although not used as frequently anymore, at least not as much as Facebook, does have a death policy, which will allow a family member to delete a profile. Their ‘death policy’ states that only a family member or executor can remove a profile.>

They don’t allow access or updates but if you have the user ID or email account, you can retrieve the password by clicking here.

If you don’t have that info, you might want to make sure you have proof of your relationship to the deceased, as well as a death certificate or copy of the obituary. They will also accept a link to a URL with a publication of the death, or funeral home website.


LinkedIn makes it a little easier for family members to close an account, that is if you have the account login information. However, if you don’t, they will need to be notified of the death of a user, faxed a complete death verification and gaining access has a whole other list of rules.

Google +

Google + is the newest craze in social media, and done extremely well. For those who dislike Facebook, or need a change, there is an alternative!

Their goal is to connect people securely, through ‘Circles”, which are friend circles you can categorize by work, friends, etc. – and “huddle” now simply called ‘Messenger’ which is a group messaging system, as well as the cool “hangouts” that allow quite a few people at once, to chat in specific chat rooms of their interest.

Their photo upload system is the best in the world, but then, what else would you expect from Google?

Their policy on death? Well it’s a bit cumbersome, however it has been upgraded since November 2011 to make it a little easier on family members. But a reading their death policy would be most beneficial, as it is still full of quite a few requirements.

What do you think about social media policies and their effect after you die?

Regardless of which avenue of socialization via the Internet you choose, each one has begun a new and different death policy for those who have left us. They have a long way to go with death, and hopefully will catch up soon so that the skeletons of the past are not popping up to torment us daily.

Learn more about social media policies on death with this Digital Death blogazine from Life Insurance Finder.

About William Eve ( ↑ )

Will is part of the team which created the super viral Digital Privacy after Death infographics. Between work, Will enjoys travelling and reading up on the latest social media news.