A survey conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology (BITKOM) revealed that only 18% of Internet users determine the fate of their social media accounts in the event of death.
“Given this lack of planning, when death occurs, family members find themselves in a situation where they rarely know what to do,”
says Allen Buck, an expert in digital impact.
On the other hand, social media is currently the most important channel for mourning, when reporting the death of a relative or friend.
The specialist explains that it is important to pay attention to this issue, since for some people social networks can be a kind of “personal heritage”.
“You have to think of an individual’s social media as a personal legacy,” Allen emphasizes. “The posts that are produced are that person’s digital legacy,” she says. “When in doubt about what to do, it is best to think about the importance that person attaches to their social media in life,”
Aline confirms, noting that many people have a habit of logging everything they do daily on social media.
According to Aline, the advice is to turn that social network into a memorial, immortalize the memories and posts of that dear person and preserve their image with messages that bring back memories.
And what about accounts that are monetized and run like a business, for example? “It is essential that we think about social networks and the rights of heirs when dealing with this digital heritage,” explains attorney Maria Claudia Freitas. “In Brazil, there is no explicit law on digital inheritance, there is no dogma and pacifism. We only have isolated decisions on this issue, which has led to many disputes and legal uncertainty,” says the expert.
Allen Buck and Maria Claudia highlight the importance of families starting conversations on this topic.
“This topic, while difficult, should be encountered naturally,” explains Allen Buck. “Providing passwords to someone you trust would be economical, but risky,” says Maria Claudia.
Currently, there are many examples of famous people who have died and the family remains active in their accounts.
“The family of Marilia Mendonca, who died in November 2021, used their social media to report what happened and posted about the singer’s projects that were in progress. Today, the profile is still visible to preserve Marilia’s memory,” says the specialist.
“In the case of Gugu Liberato, the family turned the presenter’s profile into a network to spread the good news, as a chain of goodness, stating what to do to donate organs and other information of public benefit to help the community at large. This format worked for a while, then the family chose not to convert the file personal to a memorial,” says Allen.
What do you do with each social network after death
- Instagram: Depending on the platform’s own policies, the account of the deceased can be memorialized or deleted. For this, it is necessary to send a form on Instagram in the “help” section, with attaching some documents that prove the existence and death of the individual, such as birth and death certificates, in addition to the documents that prove, in accordance with local legislation. , that you are the representative of that person,” explains Allen. “But it is worth noting that when the account becomes ‘in memory,’ some settings cannot be accessed and old printouts cannot be changed.” There is more: the expression ‘in memory’ will be displayed next to The name of the person on the profile.These accounts do not appear in some places on Instagram, such as “Explore”.
- Facebook: Also belonging to the Meta group, the procedure for submitting forms and documents for the account to become a “memory” profile is similar to that of Instagram. “But there is also the possibility that, in life, the user will nominate someone to be responsible for the account, should something happen to them,” explains Allen. “This person gets a notification and can choose the best way to follow the profile,” he says.
- The WhatsApp: Since it is a network meant for private and direct messages, it is encrypted. “So, when someone dies, neither the actor nor a family member can manage the messages,” says Allen. “However, the deceased user’s account can be deleted.”
- Twitter: In this social network, it is recommended to permanently delete the account. “Close family members or legal representatives can request a form to request account deactivation,” Aline recommends.