With technology becoming more ingrained in our lives, our digital identity is getting more and more important after death. Although managing the deceased's social media or a website may not seem as high a priority as bank accounts, they should still make the list. These profiles hold accessible memories and thoughts shared by the person before they passed, meaning these accounts may be highly valued for family members. However, everyone experiences grief differently and lingering social media profiles after death may bring too much sadness. Learning the steps to take with handling a loved one’s online affairs after they pass will help the process of grief.
Don’t Ignore Social Media
When a friend or family member dies, some may not wish to see their name pop up when scrolling through social media, such as a suggested friend or memory notification on Facebook. It can bring a level of sadness when trying to move on from grief. Discuss with your family the action you feel is necessary to come to an agreeance. Perhaps everyone agrees to not let the profiles sit abandoned and to take action on handling the accounts.
Check Each Platform’s Terms of Service
Each social media platform will have a website explaining their own rules for dealing with the account of someone who has passed. This allows you to explore options and make an executive decision as a family. For example, Facebook and Instagram will delete or memorialize an account upon filling out an online form, which simply requires you to submit a death certificate of the account holder. Accounts such as Twitter allow you to notify them that you wish an account to be deleted. Following the request, a member of Twitter will be in touch to ask for more information including a death certificate and your ID.
Respect Their Privacy
The most important step to follow after losing a loved one is respecting their privacy. Although they are no longer on Earth, they still deserve the humble privacy as if they were. This means in terms of logging into social media accounts, websites, and other relative platforms. If you make the decision to log into an account or website that is not yours, you could be violating more than their privacy, such as breaking the federal law when logging into an email account that is not yours. Unless you have gained permission before the death, it is important to follow this rule.
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