How to remove the Facebook account of a deceased family member

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While most people have an account on at least one social media platform, not many people have had to turn off someone else’s account before – so, here’s a simple guide on how to do it.

Social media accounts hold an incredible amount of personal information.

Facebook’s regular memories popping up on the wall and the handy birthday reminders that make everyone’s relationships easier lead many users to keeping their accounts open until the end of their days, even if they don’t use them much anymore.

Not planning ahead on the social media front means that those left behind need to take care of the accounts of the deceased, which can be a painful process. Luckily, it isn’t difficult.

Starting with Facebook, the key to closing a loved one’s account is the ability to prove an immediate family link, or that someone’s the executor of the account holder.

Facebook states that the fastest way to do this is by scanning and sending a death certificate.

For proof of death, these alternatives are accepted too:

● Obituary

● Memorial card

The following can be submitted to prove someone’s authority to act on behalf of the deceased:

● Power of attorney

● Birth certificate

● Last will and testament

● Estate letter

The account of the person who has died can also be memorialised.

The idea of deleting someone’s digital footprint can be daunting, which is where memorialising an account can be considered.

Once Facebook is informed of an account holder’s passing, the word Remembering is added next to their name – the profile becoming a place where family and friends can gather to share memories.

Unlike with a regular account, no one is allowed to log into a memorialised account — although it can be managed by someone else providing they have been added as a legacy contact—; it won’t show up as a suggested friendship for other users, and it won’t be included in anyone’s birthday reminders.

A legacy contact is someone who has been given permission to manage the account and is thus able to do the following:

● Write a pinned post for the memorialised profile

● Respond to new friend requests

● Update the profile picture and cover photo

A legacy contact can be assigned in advance, in preparation for one’s death, following these steps:

● Go to Settings & Privacy tab

● Click Memorialisation settings

● Type in someone’s name and click Add

● Click Send to let the person know they’ve been made a legacy contact

Facebook also provides the chance to have an account automatically deleted after being informed of someone’s death. Messages, photos, posts, comments, reactions and information are all immediately and permanently removed if someone chooses the Delete after death option.

Similarly to Facebook, Instagram accounts can either be deleted or memorialised. Here, users’ photos and videos stay but changes to the profile aren’t allowed.

To request an Instagram account to be deleted, proof of an immediate family link or being in charge of the estate needs to be provided.

Likewise, on Twitter, only those who show the required proof —  again, either being in charge of the estate or an immediate family link — can request an account is deleted.

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