Yesterday I saw on the news that a father appealed to Facebook publicly to unlock the video "look back" of their deceased son. Because he hadn't shared the password with his parents (and what teen would?), they could only see the content he chose to share with them.

Who can point me to some best practices for dealing with the possibility that a subscriber may die, and planning for that in an honorable way? I ask this because I get requests almost daily to "Invite [Dead Friend] to play Words With Friends!" or "Help [Dead Relative] celebrate their work anniversary!" on LinkedIn or "[Dead Relative] Needs More Lives!" in Candy Crush.

These apps are all linked to social networks, either LinkedIn or Facebook. I called LinkedIn and emailed them the obituary of a colleague in the hopes that they would stop including this person's photo in their promotional materials, and it took over a year for it to stop.

  • Turning an active profile into a memorial site: does this require intervention, a death certificate, official notification? Simply detecting a slew of "RIP" posts to the profile?
  • Password management - does a dead user have any right to privacy?
  • Allowing the user to designate the level of privacy they desire after death? (My mom can see my photos, but not my chat sessions.)
  • Ability to pass digital rights to another user - can a user leave instructions with the vendor that their profile be deleted upon notification of their death?
  • Gracefully excluding the deceased user from in-app game invitations
  • Automatically excluding photos of the deceased user from marketing materials (LinkedIn asks "Where are they now?" including headshots)

Has this been formalized anywhere, by anyone? I have not found any information on best practices for registration that take into account what might happen to the social profile after death.

  • "[Dead Relative] Needs More Lives!" :( Feb 10, 2014 at 3:24
  • 1
    @JarrodMosen - that one particularly tweaks my delicate sensibilities. Feb 10, 2014 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


lot of the prominent social websites do have options to close or memoralize an account if a person dies. To quote this article

Facebook: To report someone as deceased, Facebook requires documentation, such as a copy of the deceased's death certificate. Upon request, Facebook will "memorialise" the user's page, allowing friends and family to post memorial messages on the deceased's wall. The company says it allows only confirmed friends to view the page and prevents unauthorized users from logging on. Facebook also will honour requests from family or an executor to permanently close an account.

Gmail: Google's email program "extend(s) our condolences" but makes no guarantees that it will grant access to the deceased's email account. You must provide your name, address, email and a copy of your driver's licence or government-issued ID. You'll need a copy of the deceased's email address, including the "headers" that show email tracking details. A copy of the death certificate is also required.

LinkedIn: To close a deceased's account, LinkedIn requires a "verification of death" form that includes the deceased's email address, LinkedIn profile URL and a death notice.

Twitter: If a Twitter user dies, the company says it can close the account and help family members recover the person's public tweets. It requires your name, contact information and relationship to the deceased, as well as a link to a public obituary.

YouTube: To access the deceased's YouTube account, you'll need to provide your contact information, a copy of the death certificate, as well as a power of attorney document. If it is a child's YouTube account, you'll need a copy of his or her birth certificate, but not a power of attorney document.

That said, due to legal constraints, Companies will insist on documentation from a close relative to prove that the person has unfortunately passed away. Going through the list of items needed to provide the desired information, It could be a real headache for people who are not tech savvy.

This link has details on the documentation needed for different social accounts to get it closed.

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