Last week I had the task of memorialising a Facebook profile on behalf of a client. It's an important step in managing a person's online reputation, and one which can usually be sorted out prior to a death*, however there are steps for when this hasn't been possible.
1. Memorialising the Profile
Who can do this? Anyone, at https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/1605213279719667
Memorialised accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. Memorialised accounts have the following key features:
- The word Remembering will be shown next to the person's name on their profile
- Depending on the privacy settings of the account, friends can share memories on the memorialised Timeline
- Content the person shared (ex: photos, posts) stays on Facebook and is visible to the audience it was shared with
- Memorialised profiles don't appear in public spaces such as in suggestions for People You May Know, ads or birthday reminders
- No one can log into a memorialised account
- Memorialised accounts that don't have a legacy contact can't be changed
- Groups with an admin whose account was memorialised will be able to select new admins
- Pages with a sole admin whose account was memorialised will be removed from Facebook if Facebook receives a valid request.
- Head to the above link and fill out the form. You'll need:
- Your email address
- URL of the profile to be memorialised
- The profile owner's full name
- Their date of birth
- An estimated date of their passing
- Proof of death in the form of a URL or file to be uploaded.
- Click Send.
- Facebook will email the address provided with a response on the case.
Where information can't be provided, skip that section and provide as much as you can elsewhere. Often if enough evidence on the profile of death is present (like posts from friends of the deceased, no logins on the account) this will be enough proof for Facebook.
Help article: https://www.facebook.com/help/1506822589577997
2. Deleting the Account
Who can do this? Immediate family or executor only, at https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/228813257197480
Things to remember when deleting a Facebook account:
- No one will not be able to regain access to the account.
- Some of the things done by the user on Facebook aren't stored in the account. For example, a friend may still have messages from them even after the account is deleted. That information remains after deletion.
- It may take up to 90 days to delete all of the things posted, like photos, status updates or other data stored in backup systems. While Facebook deletes this information, it is inaccessible to other users.
- Copies of some material (ex: log records) may remain in Facebook's database for technical reasons. When you delete an account, this material is disassociated from any personal identifiers.
- Visit the form and fill out the following information:
- Your full name
- The deceased's full name on their account
- Their email address
- Their Facebook profile URL
- Your relationship to the deceased
- If you'd like to have the profile deleted, memorialised or have a question to ask Facebook about the account
- Approximate date of their death
- Verification to upload proving your relationship to the deceased
- If you have a question or other comment for Facebook in making the request, include it in the form.
- Click Send.
Help article. https://www.facebook.com/help/265593773453448
*Prior: Legacy Planning
Who can do this? The owner of the account.
A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it's memorialised. Once your account is memorialised, your legacy contact will have the option to do things like:
- Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)
- Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook)
- Update your profile picture and cover photo.
You also have the option to allow your legacy contact to download a copy of what you've shared on Facebook. Facebook may add additional capabilities for legacy contacts in the future, so it's important to note this when choosing your legacy contact.
Your legacy contact can't:
- Log into your account
- Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
- Read messages you've sent to other friends
- Remove any of your friends.
- From the top right of Facebook, click the downwards facing arrow and select Settings. (You can also download a copy of your Facebook data here.)
- From the left menu, click Security
- Click Legacy Contact
- Follow the on-screen instructions to choose who you want to have access to your account. (I'd also suggest messaging them to check if they are okay with being chosen.)
- Decide if you'd like them to have access to a download of your data.
- Decide if you'd like to have your account permanently deleted in the event of your passing.
- Click Close.
Help article. https://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674
In all cases, remember that these options should be discussed with your loved ones where possible. Similar to preparing your possessions and deciding to donate your organs, you can prepare your online social media profiles for after your death.
If you're facing difficulties online after the death of a loved one, please get in touch with me for assistance.