By Jim Miller
Dear Savvy Senior,
How do I go about canceling a person’s social media accounts when they die? My wife died a few months ago and her social media accounts are still active.
— Sad Spouse
I’m very sorry for your loss, but this is a smart move on your behalf and one that often gets overlooked. Social media is part of many people’s daily lives, but when a person dies their dormant accounts can become vulnerable to scammers who can hack into them and even steal your deceased loved one’s identity.
Here’s a run-down of how you can cancel or change many different social media accounts after a loved one dies.
If your wife used Facebook, you can either “memorialize” or “delete” her account.
A memorialized account serves as a place where family and friends can share memories to celebrate the deceased person’s life, with the word “Remembering” shown next to the deceased person’s name. Once an account is memorialized, content the person shared is still visible on Facebook to the audience it was originally shared with, however, the user’s profile will not show up in public spaces such as people you may know, ads or birthday reminders.
To memorialize her account requires proof of death (via death certificate, obituary or memorial card), but if you wish to delete the account, you’ll also need to verify that you’re an immediate family member, legal representative or executor, unless you’re the legacy contact on her account.
The policy on a deceased users’ Instagram account is the similar to Facebook’s, which owns Instagram. You can either memorialize or remove the account at Help.Instagram.com/264154560391256. But just like with Facebook, you’ll need to provide proof of death and relationship to the deceased.
X (formally Twitter)
To deactivate an X account, go to Help.Twitter.com and type in “How to contact X about a deceased family member’s account” in the search bar and follow the prompts. After you submit your request, X will email you with instructions for providing more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID, and a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
YouTube – Google
To close these accounts, simply go to Support.Google.com/accounts/troubleshooter/6357590 and fill out their form and upload scans of the death certificate and your ID.
To remove a Pinterest account, email Care@pinterest.com with the deceased user’s account username, proof of death and proof of relationship to the deceased.
To remove a deceased person’s LinkedIn profile, submit a request at LinkedIn.com/help/linkedin/ask/ts-rdmlp. You’ll need to provide the name and URL to the profile; the relationship you have to the deceased; the email address; date of passing; and link to an obituary.
To delete this account, simply login to the account and click “Delete My Account” and follow the prompts.
Send an email to Support@tumblr.com requesting to remove the account of the deceased person with their Tumblr username, proof of their death, and proof of your relationship to the deceased.
If your wife had social media through a company not listed here, go to that company’s website for information on how to delete the account.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.