What happens to your Facebook page when you die? Many of us live part of our lives on social media accounts and even conduct business using the platform. With the platform’s drawing nearly 2 billion active users worldwide, it’s inevitable that many of them are passing away and leaving behind ghost profiles. By some estimates, as many as 8,000 Facebook users die every day. So what happens to their profiles when they do?
If you’ve just got a personal profile, you may not much care what happens to your Facebook page when you die. But if you’re a business or brand owner, it may be important to consider your online life as much as your real one.
Memorializing Your Facebook Page
Most people don’t just have a Facebook page, but many other online accounts including emails, photos, music, documents, and bank accounts. Does the executor of your will know how to access this information?
There are a few ways in which to handle your Facebook page after you pass. One of which is to have it memorialized, which either you or anyone else can request. When an account is memorialized, only confirmed friends can see the timeline or locate it in the search bar. The timeline will no longer appear in the suggestions section of the home page, and only friends and family can leave posts on the profile in remembrance.
In order to protect the privacy of the deceased, Facebook does not share the login information for the account with anyone. Once an account has been memorialized, it is completely secured and cannot be accessed or altered by anyone. The request can be filled out and then Facebook handles the memorializing, notifying the requestor via email once it is complete.
Have Your Account Removed/Deleted
Another way in which your account can be managed is to have it completely removed. Facebook will process it as a special request for verified immediate family members. This option will completely delete the timeline and all associated content from Facebook for good, so no one can view it. All pictures and posts originating from the profile in question will be removed.
For all special requests, Facebook requires verification that you are an immediate family member or executor. Any requests to delete the profile will not be processed if they are unable to verify your relationship to the deceased. You may also use the special request form if you have a special request regarding the user in question and their account.
Examples of documentation Facebook will accept include the deceased’s birth/death certificate, or proof of authority under local law that you are the lawful representative of the deceased or his/her estate.
Unless a legacy contact was in place, anyone who was friends with the deceased will be able to post messages on the timeline of a memorialized profile. There have been instances (usually in high profile deaths) where distressing posts have been made on the deceased’s page by trolls, something that your loved ones should be aware of if they want to keep your page.
Profiles that aren’t removed or memorialized remain active on Facebook forever. That means the profile could continue to show up in searches, people-you-may-know suggestions, ads, and those all-too-frequent birthday reminders. If friends and family don’t want to be reminded constantly that you are gone, your page should be locked down or removed entirely.
Do you have a plan for your digital assets when you die? It can often be overlooked, but has become an increasingly important part of our lives. For experienced estate planning advice, contact us today. We offer a FREE, 10-minute phone consultation.