End of Life Planning

What happens to my social media accounts when I die?

By Rachel Sommer . April 12, 2021

This may seem like an out-of-pocket question but as we spend more and more time online it is a good idea to get clear about what happens to our social accounts when we die and what precautions we need to take.

Especially through the pandemic, many of us are spending more time connecting virtually these days, sharing photos, stories, and memories on social media. So, what happens to your legacy and followers when you pass away?

Not surprisingly, the best thing you can do is designate a digital executor, someone responsible for your online life when you’re no longer there. However, social media platforms vary dramatically in how much control you can have over your digital estate. 


The site with the most options today is Facebook, which allows you to designate a legacy contact. When Facebook becomes aware that you’ve passed away, your account will automatically become Memorialized, which changes your name to reflect that your page is “remembering” you, and no one can log in directly to your account. Your named legacy contact will be able to make certain changes:

  • Pin a tribute post to the profile
  • Change the profile photo and cover photo
  • Respond to new friend requests (they cannot remove friends)
  • Untag photos of you
  • Decide who can see and post tributes

How do you designate a Facebook legacy contact? Visit Settings & Privacy > Settings > Memorialization Settings > (Choose your friend) > Add > Send (to notify them)


You might think that Instagram would have the same functionality as Facebook since Facebook owns Instagram, but as of today, that’s not true. While your digital executor can Memorialize or delete your account, you are not able to designate your legacy contact in advance. Instagram has an online request form to Memorialize your account (proof of death is required). They will then lock your account, and their algorithms will try to keep references to your account from showing up in ways that would be upsetting to your friends and family. Your immediate family can also request to have your account deleted.


Twitter has taken a different stance. They are willing to remove or deactivate an account when given notice by an authorized user, but they are also willing to allow your account to live on with the same followers and handle, provided it is clear that you are no longer the one managing the account (a prime example being @thehermancain, now designated “The Cain Gang” and noted that the account is “now supervised by his team and family”, and the account maintained its followers and continues to tweet). They do make it very clear that they will not give out the login credentials to anyone, however, so if your loved ones don’t already have your username and password, your next of kin can provide proof of death and remove the account immediately, or your account may be inactivated after six months of inactivity.


No one wants a linked in profile view from beyond. While a spooky notification like this has yet to be recorded, let’s prevent any beyond the grave messages by 

Interestingly, LinkedIn does not appear to have a policy about inactive accounts. Your LinkedIn account remains active until you choose to delete it or someone reports that you are dead. Because LinkedIn does not have the policy to delete inactive accounts, your account may remain active long after your death, which could be disturbing to the connections who continue to see your profile. As discussed above, your connections or survivors can report your death to LinkedIn, but you don’t know when or if they will do this. The surest way to make sure LinkedIn deletes your account after your death is to leave instructions and login information with your trusted digital executor.


Currently, TikTok does not have any policy about what happens when you die, and no way to Memorialize your account. Your digital executor would need to have your login credentials to log in to make any changes to your account or delete it, or they can contact TikTok to delete the account.

Other things to consider

As you’ve seen here, access to many social media sites will depend on your loved ones having access to their usernames & passwords. Providing clear and updated instructions is now more important than ever. Don’t accidentally lock your loved ones out of your online life! Fill out our Legacy Worksheet and appoint your Digital Executor today with!


Rachel Sommer