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.
After 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 4/2023.
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
- Choose Accounts Center
- Choose Personal Details
- Account Ownership & Control is where you can see Memorialization (learn more about this in the next section). This is where you set or change 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
- 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.
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.
- Memorialization Request Access Here
- Legacy Contact? Learn more about it
Removal Request (and More)
A legacy contact, or someone with the proper information can request several actions in this section. It includes memorializing an account, removal due to death, removal due to incapacitation, or other special requests.
Deleting an account 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.
- Request Form Access Here
What You Need to Do
Get all of 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:
- 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.
My cuz passed away and there is other people getting on to his account
I’m sorry to hear that. You can use this information to close out his account, if you have access to the necessary information.