Your Facebook After You Pass Away (2020)



As Facebook reigns king of the social media world, it seems like almost everyone has a profile. But what happens to someone's Facebook profile after he/she dies?

We'll walk through the possibilities and how you can easily set up your profile to be taken care of when you pass away.



What Happens to Your Facebook When You Die?

Facebook has not only prepared for the case of a user's death, but it actually allows users to have a say in how their Facebook accounts will be taken care of. Why is this useful?

  1. You don't have to stress about your Facebook being hacked after you pass away (Facebook has taken measures to prevent this).
  2. In countries like the US, there are legal hurdles that can come with accessing a deceased person's social media accounts. Such measures can give back some control and make things easier for your loved ones.
  3. For many people, their Facebook profiles are digital records of portions of their lives via pictures, written messages, interactions, and more. You can have a say about how you want this data dealt with.

We'll walk you through a simple tutorial on how to take advantage of this feature as of August 2020.


What Are Your Options?

You have two options to choose between for your Facebook profile after you pass away:

  1. Your Facebook profile can be converted into a personal memorial and you will have a memorialized account. Your friends and family will be able to share tributes in remembrance of you.
  2. Your Facebook profile and related data (pictures you've posted, statuses, chat messages, etc.) can be permanently deleted.

How Will Facebook Know that You Passed Away?

Before we get into more detail, you might be wondering how Facebook would even find out if you passed away, since they can't memorialize or delete your account unless they are somehow informed. Facebook actually allows a user to report one of his or her friends as deceased by filling out a form.

Your first thought after reading that might be "Well, can't someone theoretically report a living friend as deceased? How would Facebook even know?". It turns out Facebook has considered this as well because the user filling out the form would most likely be required to provide an uploaded image of a 'documentation of death'. Therefore, it would probably only be a close family member or loved one who could report a user as deceased.

If you're interested in seeing the forms that one could fill out to report a deceased family member, here are two versions we found:

Now that we've cleared that up, we'll walk through how you can easily arrange for either of the two options.


Option 1 - Set Up Your Facebook to be Memorialized


What is a Memorialized Account?

If you have seen a memorialized account before, you may already be aware that they function differently from normal accounts. The account's purpose shifts from networking and socializing to sharing memories. Here are some key features of a memorialized account:

  • The user's name is prefaced with "Remember", thus reading "Remember (name)"
  • The user's content (pictures, posts, etc.) are not removed, however, pages that he/she was the admin of are deleted
  • No one can log into a memorialized account (preventing the account from being abused)

Due to a glitch several years ago that accidentally memorialized every single Facebook account, we were able to obtain an example of what a memorialized account might look like (there have likely been some minor changes over time).

He did not actually die



Steps to Set Up a Memorialized Account

If you're interested in having your Facebook account memorialized, you can follow these steps to ensure that your memorialized account is quickly set up to be managed according to your liking.


1) Start by heading over to https://www.facebook.com/. You will need to log into your account if you are not logged in already.

2) Once you're on your Facebook, click the small upside-down triangle at the rightmost top corner of the page. This will open up a dropdown menu. From here, select 'Settings'.

How to get to Settings


3) You'll see some fields that you can edit on that page including Name, Username, Contact, and Manage account. Select 'Edit' next to 'Manage account' as pictured below.

Manage account


4) The first thing you can consider doing to set up for a memorialized account is providing a legacy contact. A legacy contact is a designated Facebook friend who will look after your account in the event of your death. A legacy contact can:

  • Control 'tribute' posts that friends post on your wall
  • Make a pinned post that will stand out amongst other tributes
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo
  • Accept friend requests (though he/she cannot delete friends or make new requests)
  • Request the removal of your account

It's important to note that a legacy contact cannot read your messages or actually log into your account.

You can also remove and change your legacy contact at any time. You should remember to do so if necessary, as a legacy contact has unique responsibilities and abilities with a memorialized account.

Adding a legacy contact


5) Once you've chosen your legacy contact, a window will pop up allowing you to send him/her a message informing of your decision. Facebook provides a pre-drafted message, however you can feel free to change it.

Message your legacy contact


6) You can provide your legacy contact with additional information about you by checking the 'Data Archive Permission' checkbox under the 'Your legacy contact' section. This permission would allow him/her to download a copy of anything you've shared on Facebook (statuses, pictures, videos, etc.). This might be useful to him/her in making management decisions pertaining to your memorialized account, such as writing the pinned tribute post or changing the account's profile picture.

Data Archive Permission


Your account is now set up to be memorialized in the event of you passing away. As mentioned above, your choices can be amended at any time.


Option 2 - Set Up Your Account to be Permanently Deleted

The alternative to having your profile memorialized is having it permanently deleted. In the words of Facebook, "when someone lets [them] know that you’ve passed away, all of your messages, photos, posts, comments, reactions and info will be immediately and permanently removed from Facebook."

This is a simple option that is even simpler to set up.


1) Start by heading over to https://www.facebook.com/. You will need to log into your account if you are not logged in already.

2) Once you're on your Facebook, click the small upside-down triangle at the rightmost top corner of the page. This will open up a dropdown menu. From here, select 'Settings'.

How to Get to Settings


3) You'll see some fields that you can edit on that page including Name, Username, Contact, and Manage account. Select 'Edit' next to 'Manage account' as pictured below.

Manage account


4) Under the section titled 'Your legacy contact', you'll see a short paragraph ending with 'Request that your account be deleted after you pass away'. Click this link.

Delete Account


5) A confirmation box will pop up asking you to confirm that your account should be deleted after your death.

Your account is now set up to be permanently deleted. For extra peace of mind, you can still set up a legacy contact to be designated to contact Facebook in the event of your death, but it may not be as useful in this scenario.

What If You Change Your Mind?

You can come back to your Settings at any time and change your legacy contact or reverse/alter your decision about whether your account should be deleted or memorialized.


How Did We Feel About This Facebook Feature?

This is a convenient feature that can give some users peace of mind but might just be trivial for someone who doesn't use or care about Facebook. It really comes down to how much personal data is connected to one's Facebook account.

It is useful to know that this feature exists, as death is something we will all have to face in due time. Since this setup is so easy, we would recommend taking a few minutes to choose your preference if you have one.