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What to do with social media when someone dies?


Not only do we have a physical presence that will need dealing with when we pass away, such as clothes, possessions, homes and more, we now also have a whole digital presence too. With social media being a relatively new thing, it might not always be clear what to do with someone’s accounts when they pass away.

Dealing with social media accounts

There are a few options for dealing with a social media account when someone passes away. Facebook allows memorialisation of accounts, and other platforms will allow you to either delete the account or leave the account open as is.

With this in mind, it could be worth considering how you would like your own social media treated when you pass away. This could be included in a will, memorandum or wish or funeral wishes document, which will give your family guidance when the time comes.

Some social media platforms allow you to nominate a legacy contact who can control your account, should you die. This means you can choose a few friends or family members who will be able to make changes and memorialise your account. They typically won’t be able to read messages or access personal information, but will be able to manage comments and activity on the memorial account.

How to memorialise different social media accounts

How to memorialise an account on Facebook

How to memorialise an account on Instagram

How to memorialise an account on Twitter

How to memorialise an account on LinkedIn

TikTok does not offer a memorial option for a deceased user’s account. If you would like an account deleted for someone who has passed away, contact TikTok at feedback@tiktok.com 

Once an account is deleted, it may not be reactivated, and none of the content or information may be accessed. For more information on TikTok’s policies click here.

Snapchat will delete the account of a deceased user if they are provided with a copy of the death certificate. Snapchat will not allow anyone access to a deceased user’s account and does not have a memorialization option. Contact Snapchat to report a user who has passed away here.

To deactivate a deceased family member’s account, you will need to get in touch with Pinterest’s help centre. Additional items may be requested. Pinterest will not provide personal or login information for access to the deceased’s account.

Writing a message or announcement

If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve put a few ideas below for how to create your social media update to announce the passing of a loved one.

What details should you include in your announcement?

– Name of the person who has died and their relationship to you
– Date of death
– Any details of memorials, funeral services, visitation or wake
– Information on donations, flowers and memorials
– A nice photo of the person who has passed away

Message examples

Making the death announcement as a close friend or family member: 

‘It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of [NAME]. They/He/She passed surrounded by family/friends and we know they are at peace.’

‘Many of you will know that my [partner/mom/dad/sister/brother etc] was struggling with [illness]. It saddens me to announce that on [date] he/she/they passed away. We hope they are no longer suffering and will be remembered fondly by [family/friends/name]. 

The family would like to invite you to join us for a funeral service on [date] to celebrate their life and share memories with one another.’

Showing support as a close friend or family member of the person who has died:

‘I would like to offer my support and condolences to the [NAME] family, during this period of mourning/what is a difficult time. [NAME] was a great friend/colleague/partner and will be greatly missed.’

In honour of [NAME], I would like to share some memories and encourage others to do the same during this difficult time. He/She/They will be missed greatly and I would like to send my condolences to the [NAME] family and know that we are thinking of you all.’

Comment etiquette

To help you navigate a difficult situation when you want to support the family or friends of someone who has passed, we’ve put together a few ideas of how to sensitively comment on an announcement post:

– Thinking of you and your family during this time
– They were a strong, caring person who will be greatly missed by all
– I’m sorry for your loss and I am thinking of your all during this time
– Sending love, hugs and my deepest condolences to the family
– I’m deeply saddened to hear this news. Please let me know if I can help with anything or support you in any way

Why make an announcement on social media?

For many, announcing on social media may feel impersonal, however, as a shared space it allows you to:

– Make space to honour your loved one’s life
– Easily inform their extended network about their passing and provide details to be shared
– Create an opportunity for a shared mourning experience, for everyone, including friends, family, distant relatives, online friends, colleague and acquaintances

For more help or advice on how to manage social media accounts when someone passes away or creating  suitable announcement, please get in touch with a member of our team on 0800 007 6842 or email info@gatewayfunerals.co.uk