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Set up Facebook and Instagram to delete themselves after you die

Social media itself plays such a significant role in our lives. We can think of it as a virtual storybook of experiences and accomplishments. Even with Facebook’s unbelievable number of missteps over the years, people can’t seem to quit using the site.

But have you ever wondered what happens to your social media accounts after you’ve passed away?

Of course, this is a morbid thought that nobody wants to think about, but it does raise an interesting question about how your online legacy will proceed once you’re no longer around to add to it yourself.

Thankfully, two of the biggest social media platforms allow you to plan far ahead and have your accounts either preserved or deleted, depending on what your wishes are. Consider taking advantage of these features now, before it’s too late.

What is the Facebook Legacy feature?

Facebook offers a way for you to designate a legacy contact. This person can manage your social media account if you should pass away.

The legacy contact can do things like write a pinned post for your profile as a farewell message or as a way to let your friends know the details of a memorial service. Your designated person can also respond to friend requests, update your profile and cover photos, decide who can see and who can post tributes, among other things.

There are limits to what the legacy contact can do. He or she won’t be able to read your messages, log into your account, or delete friends.


Related: Facebook settings you need to change right now


Here’s how to get it started: Go to your general account Settings and choose “Manage Account.” Use the “Choose a friend” box to add your legacy contact.

That person will receive an email explaining how the process works. You might want to check with that friend or family member before you add them to make sure they’re willing to handle the responsibility.

The legacy contact can request the removal of your Facebook account altogether after you pass away if that’s what you want.

Memorializing/deleting your Instagram

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it has similar features and procedures when it comes to memorializing accounts. Like Facebook, your family can request the deletion of your account, or have it memorialized.

However, Instagram doesn’t feature a legacy contact for your account. This means you’ll have to leave detailed instructions in your digital will to either have your account deleted or memorialized.


Related: How to know who is viewing your Instagram


After someone has departed, a chosen friend or family member can get in touch with Instagram on their behalf, by submitting a memorialize request. If you know of an Instagram account that belongs to someone who is deceased, tap or click here to report the account.

Once the account is memorialized, it can’t be changed or altered in any way. This includes any previous likes, followers, tags, posts and comments.

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