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Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Managing Social Media Accounts After a Passing

How do I cancel an individual's social media accounts after they pass? My spouse passed away a few months ago and their social media accounts are still active.

Deactivating social media accounts of a loved one after their passing is a thoughtful measure that may often be overlooked. Social media plays a large role for many individuals, but when an individual passes away, their dormant accounts can become vulnerable to scammers who can hack into them and steal the deceased individual's identity.

Here is a breakdown of how you can cancel or modify various social media accounts after a loved one passes away.

Facebook: If your spouse used Facebook, you can either "memorialize" or "delete" the account. A memorialized account serves as a place where family and friends can share memories to celebrate the deceased person's life, with the word "Remembering" shown next to the deceased person's name. Once an account is memorialized, the account's postings are still visible on Facebook to the original audience. The user's profile, however, will not show up in public spaces such as people you may know, ads or birthday reminders.

Memorializing an account requires proof of death via death certificate, obituary or memorial card. If, however, you wish to delete the account, you will also need to verify that you are an immediate family member, legal representative or executor, unless you are the legacy contact on the deceased's account.

Instagram: The policy for deceased users' Instagram accounts is similar to Facebook's policy, since Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram. Your options are to either memorialize or remove the account on their website. But just like with Facebook, you will need to provide proof of death and your relationship to the deceased.

X (formerly Twitter): To deactivate an X account, search online for "How to contact X about a deceased family member's account" and follow the prompts to fill out a request. After you submit your request, X will email you with instructions for providing more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID, and a copy of the deceased's death certificate.

YouTube and/or Google: Google and YouTube are owned by the same parent company. To close a Google or YouTube account, visit Google's support page and fill out their form and upload scans of the death certificate and your ID.

Pinterest: To remove a Pinterest account, email the site with the deceased user's account username, proof of death and proof of relationship to the deceased. If the account is connected to other accounts at Google, Facebook, or X, it is best to delete the Pinterest account before deleting the other accounts.

LinkedIn: To remove a deceased person's LinkedIn profile, submit a request with LinkedIn's Help center. You will need to provide the name and URL to the profile being deactivated, the relationship you have to the deceased, the email address, the date of passing and a link to an obituary.

Snapchat: To delete this account, access "Contact Us" on the company's support page and choose the option for "A person has passed away." From there, follow the prompts for submitting a request. If you do not have the login information, submit a request using their Contact Us form. You will need to submit information to locate the account, such as the username and proof such as a death certificate.

Tumblr: Send an email to Tumblr's Support page requesting removal of the account with the deceased person's Tumblr username, proof of their death and proof of your relationship to the deceased.

If your spouse had social media through a company not listed here, go to that company's website for information on how to delete the account. If they do not have easy to find information, submit a request through a contact page, help page or customer support request.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published January 26, 2024
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