Digital Planning

How to Delete a Deceased Family Member's Facebook Account

A quick guide on your options for handling Facebook before passing away.

Facebook allows users to select beforehand whether they would like to have their account memorialised or permanently deleted.

Memorialised accounts

Memorialised accounts create a space where family and friends can share stories, memories or photos. 'Remembering' is shown beside the user's name on memorialised accounts. When an account is memorialised, content that the individual shared remains visible on Facebook to the audience it was initially shared with, however; the user's profile will not show up in public spaces such as “individuals you may know”, advertisements or birthday reminders.

Permanently deleted accounts

If you want your Facebook profile and all of its contents to disappear along with you, simply request to have your account permanently deleted if you pass away. Just follow the instructions below:

  • In the top right of Facebook, click and choose Settings
  • From the left menu, click General
  • Click Manage Account
  • Click Request account deletion and follow the onscreen instructions

Legacy contact

Facebook now lets users pick a legacy contact, which is a person chosen to look after your account after it has turned into a memorial page. The legacy contact can respond to friend requests, change the profile and cover photo, and request removal of the account. Do not worry though, they cannot  log into your actual account, read your messages,  change or remove posts, photos or other items that you have shared previously. All secrets (on Facebook at least) should be secure!

Facebook data

If you are interested in having a copy of your Facebook data, you can go into your general account settings and download it at anytime. You can also give your legacy contact permission to download a copy of everything that you have shared on Facebook.

Didn't plan in advance?

The days when your Facebook's fate lay in the hands of others are long gone, so if you want a say in what happens, it is fairly straightforward to go into Facebook and make your choice at any time. However, if you or someone you know did not plan beforehand, someone can report a profile to be memorialised. Alternatively verified immediate family members can request removal of a loved one's account.