Let’s start with a fun fact: According to The Loop, 30 million Facebook users have died since the site has launched, with 428 users dying every hour. But don’t let this scare you, there’s a lot of damn people on facebook, around 2 billion. And compared to the numbers in the real world, those aren’t all that bad. But hey, let’s not get too morbid.
Unfortunately, social media is such an integral part of our lives that wondering about what happens to your Facebook account after you die is something you actually do have to think about. And even if you don’t care because, well, you know you won’t be here to care, it is something to consider if only for your family’s sake. So to brighten up your day, let’s talk about dealing with Facebook after death.
First things first: you need to plan out what to do. Yes, this is going to take a little bit of mental consideration. And yeah, you might have other shit you would rather be doing. But hey, this is about making it easy on your family. You just need to talk to them about this or maybe write it down somewhere.
With Facebook, there are three options when dealing with a deceased person’s account. You can memorialize the account, appoint a legacy contact, or delete the account altogether. Let’s take a look at each:
In Facebook’s own words:
“Memorialized accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away.”
This will be up to someone else to inform Facebook of your death, though you can toggle with some of the settings prior to tragedy. A memorialized account adds the word “remembering” to your profile and, depending on the setting, will allow friends to share memories on the memorialized timeline. Your profile will no longer appear in public spaces (i.e.,. People you may know) and the content already existing on your page will remain. This is something that someone has to request, obviously. No one can log into a memorialized account and, if you don’t have a legacy contact, nothing can be changed.
A legacy contact is someone you can choose to oversee your account after it has been memorialized. The contact will be able to post to your profile on your behalf, respond to friend requests, update your profile picture and cover photo, and request the removal of your account. They will not be able to read your messages, remove friends or make new friend requests, or change past post, photos, or other things on your timeline.
You can actually take care of this option now by going into your settings and choosing someone—though maybe give them a warning beforehand, because the user you choose will have to accept the invitation and that could be scary if it just shows up out of left field.
This is the most straightforward option: disappear from the digital world.
To delete an account, friends or family members must find the request through Facebook’s help center and provide their full name, the name of the deceased person’s account, the url of their timeline, the email that may have been used, and any additional information you—the deceased—have required.
Twitter, meanwhile, makes relatives provide a death certificate and a proof of their identity and relationship to the deceased, as well as the completion of a form, making Facebook’s process seem streamlined in comparison.
Just Trust Someone with Your Information
And trust that they’ll do what is right; just give them your login information beforehand. Maybe in a sealed envelop that says “open after death,” if you want to be dramatic. Since it is someone you trust, they will most likely do what they think you would want, though of course, you can discuss that. Just don’t give the information to your prankster brother who would pretend to be your ghost. That would be fucked.
Hey, that wasn’t so bad. And until we have that technology like they had on that episode of Black Mirror, then it’s just something we have to deal with, like pooping.
Cover Photo by Madison Grooms
Photo 1 by Nathan Dumlao
Photo 2 by Aaron Burden