Facebook, TikTok, Twitter… What to do with the social networks of a deceased loved one?
According to the CNIL, around 8,000 people with Facebook profiles die every day in the world, and as many accounts are abandoned. Different platforms can’t take the initiative to close or delete profiles, because for them it is impossible to distinguish a simple inactive account from the account of a deceased person. So if no relative comes, the account continues to exist.
In principle, a profile in a social network or e-mail account is strictly private and therefore subject to correspondence secrecy. However, Article 85 of the Data Protection Law on the protection of personal data provides that the heirs of a deceased person may request the person responsible for the file, in this case the social network, to keep records of the latter’s death, and to update their information, provided they prove their identity. . The platforms have implemented various functions to convert the account and report the death of the owner.
The one and only solution offered by almost all social networks, and for some, is to delete the account. While asking to erase all memories and traces of a loved one’s life can be painful, it’s one way to avoid digital problems like hacks that can make grieving even more difficult. Twitter and Snapchat offer no other alternative.
To report and request the deactivation of a deceased person’s Twitter account, please complete the available deactivation form. here.
To do the same on Snapchat, you’ll need to fill out the deactivation form available here and provide a death certificate.
Becoming a memory
If deleting Facebook and Instagram accounts is also possible, Meta offers another solution. To suggest the form “digital infinity”, as written by CNIL, it is possible to turn the account of the deceased into a memorial. Thus, all previously published content remains accessible, the legacy of the account has the ability to post the latest publication, as well as change certain information such as profile picture or subscription requests. However, he won’t be able to actually log into the account since the credentials won’t be given to him directly. These memorial accounts will be accompanied by the concept of “in memory of” or “”.remembering” for English speakers.
To apply for a Facebook memorial account, you must fill out the form available here and attach a death certificate.
You need to fill out the form available here on Instagram and attach the death certificate.
Leave account access
For its part, Google offers other solutions. First, the company allows anyone to set a period of inactivity from 3 to 18 months before the account becomes inactive. A message will be sent to the account owner a few months before the expiration date, who will have to decide whether or not to delete it. But Google admits that despite this possibility, many people die without leaving the instructions.
That’s why Google offers another option that allows relatives to access the account. So, for example, up to 10 people can use different Android Pay, Chrome, Mail and YouTube services. However, if a user has taken action and requested account deletion after inactivity, those people will still have three months to upload their existing data. An option Facebook can give an heir even if they want to delete the account instead of memorializing it.
To configure the inactivity of his account, go here.
To request access to a deceased person’s Google account, you must complete the form available here.
Write a digital will
Although all platforms except TikTok have provided solutions to wait for the death of their users, our digital identity is not only subject to the goodwill of social networks. Article 40-1 of the Data Protection Law allows everyone to “instructions regarding the storage, deletion and transfer of his personal data after his death“. So it’s possible to write a true digital will, detailing the future of the various data that everyone leaves behind, from their emails to video games to music playlists. This allows you to control your digital death, but also overcome the shortcomings of the solutions imposed by the platforms, while simplifying the already numerous procedures for relatives after death. These directives must be registered with a digitally trusted third party approved by the CNIL.