Social media has changed how we interact with our friends and family members – and even how we mourn the loss of a loved one. A blog reader recently asked if I could share a post about how to control what happens to your social media accounts after death. Here it is.
First of all, it’s important to understand Consumer Protection BC’s role with regards to the funeral services sector in BC. Our office is responsible for regulating the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act, a law that speaks to consumers’ funeral rights and responsibilities in BC and to the licensing of funeral services and cemetery operators (amongst other things). While we don’t regulate social media or the sharing of private information, we always try to offer helpful consumer information!
Tips for managing a Facebook account
You have the option to tell Facebook in advance whether you want your account to be memorialized or permanently deleted. If you choose “memorialize,” your friends can write messages on your timeline in the event of your passing, but no one will be able to log into your account. More information about these options is available from Facebook on this page.
If you are trying to manage or remove medically incapacitated or deceased person’s account, you can use their online form.
Tips for managing a Twitter account
Verified family members or someone authorized to act on the behalf of your estate can ask Twitter to have your account deactivated. Here is more information from Twitter about that process.
Tips for managing a Google account, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google+, Drive and Blogger
Google has introduced a function called Inactive Account Manager. If Google determines that you’ve been inactive for a certain amount of time (set by you), your account can either be deleted or specific data can be shared with up to 10 trusted contacts (as specified by you). Here’s more information from Google about how to set up the Inactive Account Manager.
Don’t forget that social media platforms change their features and policies often, so if this topic matters to you, it’s a good idea to stay up to date on their terms and conditions. We hope this information was helpful.