The internet has touched every aspect of life, and in a sense it also impacts what happens beyond life.

Through sites like Facebook, we have a collection of the thoughts and photographs of people close to us. After someone dies, we may want their Facebook account to be preserved as a way to remember them. Alternatively, the account owner may have requested to have the account deleted after their death, and we may need to carry out that wish.

In this guide, we’ll answer a number of questions about Facebook, bereavement and how to make a memorial page on Facebook. For example, how do you tell Facebook someone has died, how can you memorialise a Facebook account, and how can you decide what happens to your Facebook account after death?

 

What is a Facebook memorial page?

After someone’s death, their Facebook account can be made into a memorial page. Their posts and photographs will remain, and the word ‘Remembering’ will appear next to their name.

If the account’s settings allow it, friends can still post on the page to share their memories. These settings can’t be changed by anyone other than the original account owner.

It’s not possible for anyone to log in to a memorialised account. This means that, for example, a memorialised Facebook account is protected from hackers who might remove the content or make unwelcome new posts.

Facebook also won’t give birthday reminders for an account that’s been memorialised.

 

How to turn a Facebook page into a memorial page

Facebook has a memorialisation request form, which you can currently find at this link.

You’ll need to provide:

  • Your email address
  • The URL of the account owner’s Facebook profile
  • The date of death
  • Evidence of the death, such as a photograph or screenshot of the death certificate or an obituary

 

Bear in mind that, if the account’s owner requested in their Facebook settings to have their account deleted after death (see ‘How to arrange what happens to your Facebook account when you die’, below), the account will be deleted rather than memorialised.

Before making a memorialisation request, it’s best to discuss it with those closest to the person who has died. In some cases, someone might have the password and specific instructions for what to do with the account. If the account is memorialised, they will be unable to log in and carry out those instructions.

 

How to delete a Facebook account when someone dies

If you’re an immediate family member or executor, you can request the deletion of someone’s Facebook account, rather than memorialisation.

You can use this Facebook help form to request the deletion of the account. For the form itself, you’ll need to provide:

 

  • Your full name and email address
  • The URL of the account owner’s Facebook profile, and the full name listed on it
  • The email address that may have been used to create the account: in other words, whatever email address you think the account owner might have used for Facebook
  • The date of death
  • Evidence of the death

 

Facebook will also ask you to provide evidence that you’re an immediate family member or executor.

If the account owner previously assigned a legacy contact, the legacy contact is the only person who can request the deletion of the account. See ‘How to arrange what happens to your Facebook account when you die’, below.

 

How to arrange what happens to your Facebook account when you die

If you’d like to choose what happens to your Facebook account yourself, you can find ‘Memorialisation settings’ under your general Facebook account settings. Here, if you’d like to, you can request that your Facebook account be deleted after your death.

This is also where you can choose someone to look after your account after your death: a legacy contact. After your death, this person will be able to post to your Facebook page – to inform your Facebook friends about the funeral, for example – or add new Facebook friends, such as people who knew you but didn’t previously have a Facebook account.

Your legacy contact won’t be able to read any private messages you’ve sent through your Facebook account.

You’ll need to be Facebook friends with someone in order to set them as your legacy contact. Your legacy contact will be informed that you’ve chosen them, so you might want to let them know before you make the appointment.

How does Facebook know when you die? Someone will have to let the site know, using, for example, the memorialisation request form.

Social media is a very personal thing. You may want yours to remain accessible after your death, as a record for your loved ones, or you may prefer to ensure it’s no longer there when you can no longer maintain it yourself. By establishing your wishes, either in your Facebook settings or by telling a loved one what you’d prefer, you can take control of what happens to your online presence.

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