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Pulling The Plug On Social Media, Or Not

Published: March 2, 2020
by Chad Anthony Meacham

It’s 2020 and look how much our lives revolve around “social media”.  How many times a day do you open your Facebook app?  If you don’t have a Facebook profile you’re probably better off.  But for the rest of us it can become a daily routine.  Have you ever wondered what will happen to your social media accounts after your life ends?  Does your online presence end?  No.  For the purpose of this blog I will focus on Facebook.

Countless times I’ve viewed Facebook profiles of people who have died.  Friends and family often post messages on the person’s “wall” that, generally speaking, never seem to go away.  After doing some research I found out that Facebook actually provides options for what happens to an account after the owner dies and recommends that everyone designate a selection.  I did not know this!

In the Facebook application, under “Settings”, go to “Account Ownership and Control”.  From there, navigate to “Memorialization Settings”.  You’ll have two options: Choose Legacy Contact and Delete After Death. 

Choosing a legacy contact will allow you to select someone to manage your account after you’re gone.  They’ll be able to accept friend requests, pin a tribute post to the profile, and change profile/cover photos.  They will also be able to choose who can see and post tributes.

Choosing to delete your account after death will, obviously, delete your entire account (including all pictures, posts, and comments).  The catch here is that someone has to notify Facebook that you’ve died.  I wasn’t able to determine what steps FB takes to verify a death.  If you know, please let me know!

Ok, so what happens if you don’t select either option?  FB says that if they determine – on their own, somehow, some way – that you’ve died, they will “memorialize” your account.  This process includes adding the word “remembering” next to the name on the profile.  Depending on privacy settings, friends would be able to post memories on the timeline.  The owner’s photos and posts would remain on the account and viewable.  No one can login to a memorialized account and the account cannot be changed.

Check out the settings in Facebook and think about your options. 

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