Death in the Digital Age- Memorializing Someone’s Facebook Account

Facebook holds so many precious moments and memories of so many people. You just make memories and share on Facebook so your friends and relatives also have a glimpse. You can also recall all those special moments whenever you log into your Facebook account and review those photos. But have you ever thought what happens to your Facebook account when you die? No one wants to think about that really. Facebook cares about that too and has an appropriate policy in place to remember the Facebook account of the deceased.

If someone in your family and Facebook friends has passed away and their account is still active, here are the options available.

  • Legacy Contacts

Legacy contacts are those chosen by the deceased prior to their death. It could be a family member or a friend who can manage the person’s account after they pass away.

Legacy contacts are:

  • Allowed to create a pinned post at the top of the deceased’s Timeline, update their profile picture & cover photo, and respond to new friend requests. They can also download the user’s archive of photos, Timeline posts, and profile information with the previously deceased user’s permission.
  • It is not allowed to log into the deceased user’s account, check any of their personal information, such as Facebook messages. They can’t delete the person’s posts, photos, or friends.
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To select a Legacy Contact, here are the steps you need to take:

  • Log in to your Facebook account and go to settings.
  • In the ‘Security’ option, select ‘Legacy Contact’.
  • Next, click ‘Edit’, enter the name of your friend or family member and then click ‘Add’.
  • You can then notify the chosen person of your decision as they will be the one to ask Facebook to memorialize your account.
  • Once you’ve done this, you can decide if you want them to download a copy of your Facebook account under Data Retention. If so, click the check box and then click Close.

If you don’t want to choose a legacy contact before you die, no one will be allowed to manage your Facebook account and they can only memorialize it.

  • Remember someone’s Facebook account

Now, if that person has passed away without establishing a legacy contact, you can still ask Facebook to memorialize their account. Facebook knows how important profiles are to the family and friends of the deceased.

Facebook verifies the claim, but the claimant is not necessarily the executor or family member of the deceased. Anyone can submit a request form. This is done to ensure that the memorial takes place at the right time.

How to memorialize a Facebook account?

It can be done by filling out a form in the help section and asking Facebook to make the account memorialized. Once approved by Facebook, the account will be restricted to friends only and sensitive information will be deleted, if any. However, profiles and walls will remain active so friends and family can send memories and condolences.

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The word ‘Remembering’ will be used before the name of the memorialized account. The account won’t show up in Facebook ads, the people you may know section, and no reminders will be sent on the person’s birthday. This also prevents the account from being hacked because it cannot be logged into the memorialized account at any time.

Delete memorial account

Close family members of the deceased can also ask Facebook to completely remove their profile.

For this purpose, you must fill out the Special Requests form for a Deceased Person’s Account. You’ll need to provide their full name, email address, date of death, and their Timeline URL. You will also need to provide proof that you are an immediate family member by presenting a birth certificate, death certificate or proof of authority.

Download memorialized account information

The deceased person can mention in your will who will access the information on your Facebook account and Facebook will respect their decision afterwards. Anyone who has been instructed by the decedent will be allowed to download the account information upon presentation of prior authorization or a court order.

How to memorialize a Facebook page?

There is no specific process to follow to allow you to memorialize your Facebook page. Once a Facebook account has been memorialized and no one has access to it, the connected pages will be there but there will be no activity on it. In the event that the family or friends of the deceased request the removal of the relevant Facebook account, the linked Facebook pages will also be taken down.

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Contact Facebook help if you are unable to memorialize a (passed) family member’s Facebook account.


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