How to Report a Death to Facebook

I hope you don’t have to read this. I hope sincerely that out of all the searches you do on the internet, that you never have to search “how to report a death to Facebook.” But here you are. I’m so sorry for your loss.

The first time this topic showed up for me was in 2013 when an acquaintance died and a post of hers resurfaced on Facebook. Their algorithm pushed it into my News Feed when someone liked her content talking about her beloved Oakland A’s. She had just passed away and it felt like a slap in the face from the cold hand of technology.

How to Report a Death to FacebookAfter that, I collected heaps of information on how to address death on social media. I have enough for a book. It’s a book I never want to write. Maybe someday I will but I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it.

Everyone feels differently about the topic of how to handle the technical part of cleaning up accounts after someone has died. PLEASE PLEASE think about what you’d like to happen with your digital information BEFORE you are incapacitated. Make it easier on your family and friends. Make your desires known to your estate manager and provide access to a list of your up-to-date passwords. (I have a 6 page password list that is password protected. My estate manager knows where to find the list.)

Today I’m sharing how to report a death to Facebook with you because I pulled it together for my sister-in-law. Her husband’s close colleague died and she reached out to me for help. This is what I sent her. It’s also available as a download here. Please share this with anyone that needs the help.

Blog and instructions updated 10/2021.

Situation: You Are Thinking Ahead for Your Own Account

FIRST I recommend you Download a copy of your information. It’s just a good idea. You can do this at any time and is a back up of your account. I like to do this once a year.

Then change your settings:

  • Go to Settings & Privacy and choose Settings
  • In General Profile Settings, Edit Memorialization Settings
  • Here you can set your Legacy Contact, allow Data Archive Permission, or Request that your account be deleted after you pass away.

A Legacy Contact can:

  • Pin a post to your profile such as a final message on your behalf or info about a memorial service
  • View posts, even those that are set to Only Me
  • Make decisions about tribute posts and from whom
  • Delete tribute posts
  • Remove tags of you
  • Respond to new friend requests
  • Update profile & cover photos
  • Request account removal
  • Download a copy of your Facebook information

They can’t:

  • Log into your account
  • Read your messages
  • Remove any of your friends or make new friends on your behalf

If you are someone’s Legacy Contact, learn more about how to manage their account.

Situation: Reporting Someone Else’s Death

First decide if you want to Memorialize or Remove the account.

Memorialization 

Facebook will keep the account secure by preventing anyone from logging into it. The account will still be visible on Facebook, but the only person who can manage a memorialized account is a legacy contact selected by the account holder.

Request Removal 

A legacy contact can make this request and an account holder can set this up before passing. This means that when someone lets Facebook know that an account holder has passed away, all of the messages, photos, posts, comments, reactions and info will be immediately and permanently removed from Facebook.

What You Need to Do Get everything together the following information BEFORE you go to Removal Request:

  • The fastest way to process the request is to provide a scan or photo of the person’s death certificate.
  • If you don’t have the death certificate, you’ll need to provide proof of authority and proof that the account holder has passed away.
  • Submit one document to provide proof of authority:
    • Power of Attorney
    • Birth Certificate
    • Last will and testament
    • Estate Letter
  • Submit one document to provide proof that the account holder has passed away:
    • Obituary
    • Memorial card
      • Note: the information on the documentation must match the information on the deceased’s account. When submitting documentation, cover up any personal information they don’t need to fulfill your request (example: Social Security number).

Again, I made a document with all the information. You can download here. My thoughts are with you.

 

How to Report a Death to Facebook Kerry Rego Consulting

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