How to Memorialize a Loved One's Facebook Account

Transforming your loved one's social media account offers security

Man mourning death in cemetery
Memorializing a loved one's Facebook account can provide a virtual space for friends to grieve. Photo © ferrantraite/E+/Getty Images

Social-media giant Facebook enables its roughly 1.4 billion users to "memorialize" the account of a family member or close friend after he or she dies, which essentially "freezes" their Facebook page and prevents unauthorized access even though the page remains visible. This article explains how you can submit a request to memorialize a deceased loved one's Facebook account.

What Happens to a Memorialized Facebook Account?

Visibly, the most obvious change after memorializing the account will be the addition of the word "Remembering" next to the name of your loved one on his or her Facebook profile page.

Depending upon the privacy settings in force before your loved one died, all of his or her existing Facebook posts, photographs, videos, etc., will remain visible to their respective audience(s), e.g., friends, public, etc.

In addition, and again depending upon the deceased user's privacy settings, existing Facebook friends might be able to continue posting on his or her Timeline/Wall. The transformation of the account to memorialized likely means that such future posts will reflect memories of your loved one from those who knew and loved him or her, but not necessarily -- just something to keep in mind when you're deciding whether to memorialize the Facebook account or request its deletion.

Behind the scenes, the memorialized Facebook account will become inaccessible, which means that no one can log into the account in the future (unless the user took the time to designate a Facebook Legacy Contact beforehand).

This means that all of your loved one's existing posts, photographs, videos, etc., will remain in place as-is. Facebook does not allow "cherry picking" of posts, even by immediate family members.

Once Facebook memorializes a profile, the user's account will also no longer appear in "public spaces," such as in the birthday reminders other users see, Friend suggestions, etc.

How to Memorialize a Facebook Account

If you decide to memorialize your loved one's page, you should submit a "Memorialization Request" to Facebook. This online form requires basic information, such as your email address, the link/URL of the account you want memorialized, the deceased's full name, and his or her birth year and the date of death.

In addition, you should ideally provide some form of proof of death. This can include a link to an online obituary, which funeral providers typically create on their websites, or the URL of your loved one's obituary as published by a local newspaper. You can also upload a file with your memorialization request, which might comprise a scanned copy of the newspaper obituary or even the official death certificate. Understandably, such documentation helps Facebook verify the legitimacy of memorialization requests.

Related Articles of Interest:
How to Create a Facebook Legacy Contact
How to Protect and Preserve Your Online Assets

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