What Happens to Our Social Media Accounts When We Die?


I have never thought of this question until I saw this video.

In today’s society, where everything is online from our personal emails, to our tweets and post on Twitter and Facebook. We no longer live in one world, we now live in at least two different worlds.

Like people do with their physical assets, people are placing sections in their will about their digital assets. “11 percent of Britons say they have  included, or plan to include, their internet passwords in their wills” [source]

So Why Would We Want To Delete Out Online Lives?

Well, digital assets could be used ‘in an inappropriate and unexpected way’ if they were not looked after. Your Facebook account could be used to taunt family members, or your bank account could be drained before being settled by the state.

To guard against this happening “Always check site terms and conditions for details of how your content will be used and don’t wait for the state to introduce protective legislation,” said Sarah Needham, media and data protection lawyer at law firm Taylor Wessing. ‘Legislation will always be the tortoise to technology’s hare.’

Legislation is attempting to catch up, though. In the US, Nebraska state senator John Wightman wants to introduce a law that would allow the executor of a will to use the deceased’s social media accounts to either close them or leave them as a memorial.

A similar law was introduced in the state of Oklahoma in 2010. Mr Wightman said: ‘The law must keep up with technology. At this point, it has not.’ And Ms Needham acknowledged the issue was not going to go away. ‘Dealing with death in a digital world is an important issue that all countries are going to have to legislate for eventually,’ she said.

For Further protection check the Terms and Conditions 

Twitter: They will delete an account after receiving the death certificate from a family member.

Facebook: Will memorialize the profile, this means the user’s privacy settings are altered to allow only their friends to see the profile. Facebook will remove the account if the family request it and provides a death certificate. 

Yahoo!: Will permanently delete all your accounts and their contents, preventing access by anyone other than you, upon receipt of a copy of your death certificate.

Google: Automatically deletes any account that has been inactive for more than nine months––including e-mail accounts––but does not take this action specifically because a user has died.

YouTube: Allow heirs with legal power of attorney to gain control of a user’s account and its content.

There are even website like, Legacy Locker, DataInHerit, and Entrustet , that will keep all of your passwords and online information for you and only give that information to a ‘guardian’ when you pass.

Social media has such an impact on out lives today, it’s crazy. It’s interesting to me to see how much social media has effected our lives. To the point where we have to include a section about it in our wills. This just solidifies the idea of my working with social media. It’s becoming the way of life, if you aren’t online then you are behind.

Side Note: Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be in print.

Just food for thought,