Having just been through the process myself, I thought it might be useful to share how to memorialise the Facebook account of someone who has died.
My dad – the Austin in “Austin, Davis & Son” – died suddenly on 31 December 2018. Although I was aware of Facebook memorialisation pages, it has taken me well over a year to confront getting my dad’s page memorialised. I did not think I ever would to be honest, but something in the past couple of months has shifted in this respect and today I felt ready.
It should be noted that once a page has been memorialised it cannot be undone. So if you go ahead it should be something that you are certain about, as well as that any concerned parties (husband/wife/children) are on board with the decision.
Before I dive into my experience, here are links to 3 of the most popular social media platforms memorialisation information:
- How to memorialise a Facebook account when someone dies
- How to close a Facebook account when someone dies
Of these, my dad only used Facebook, so I’m unable to show you the process for Instagram or Twitter. However, Insta is owned by Facebook and having checked, the process is 100% identical to Facebook’s.
Twitter, thank goodness, have recently reversed a decision which would have seen the deletion deceased people’s accounts due to inactivity. On 27 November 2019, the company tweeted, “We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.” Phew.
Why memorialise a Facebook page?
Firstly, there is no Facebook rule that says a person’s page should ever be memorialised, though they do advise it.
As I said earlier, it took me over a year to get to the point of deciding to go ahead. Some people may never want it done, and some may not know it is an option. I decided to get my dad’s page memorialised because it felt right. Memorialising an account also helps keep it secure by preventing anyone from logging into it. My dad is now safely forever on Facebook, inclusive of his incorrect university details, that he could never figure out how to change despite the many telephone tutorials we had over the phone. I love that this, and countless other memories will always be around.
The process of memorialising a Facebook page
Let me start by saying, that within minutes of requesting it, my dad’s Facebook page was memorialised. I had anticipated that it would take at least 24 hours and had wanted to get a screenshot to show you all the Before and After, but the clever people at Facebook beat me to it.
This is what a memorialised page looks like:
The process of getting to this point was easy. Once you are on this page, you tag the person in the “who passed away” box (like you would a photograph), upload evidence of their death (I had a PDF of the death certificate handy) and then give an email address where Facebook could contact you:
It should be noted that Facebook emailed the address associated with my account rather than the one I provided in the process of requesting a memorialisation (two different addresses). Initially I thought my dad’s page had been changed without any communication from the company, but it looks as though they had immediately responded. The email is personalised and sent from an actual human – if you have ever tried to contact Facebook you will understand how rare this is! A gentleman called Patrick offered me his condolences and volunteered to answer questions.
The process of memorialising on Facebook was simple: I give them 8/10. If I had the opportunity bail, I very likely would have, lol. They got the job done quickly and efficiently. I have deducted them a point because of the confusion over where their follow up email was sent. Aside from that the process was faultless.
Do I like the memorialisation page? No. But this is more to do with me not wanting my dad to be dead rather than anything Facebook did.
My immediate feeling was that it was a bit like visiting his grave now, whereas before I could still visit ‘him’ on Facebook, if that make sense? For example, the “Write something to Austin…” has been blunted to “Write something…”. Whilst fit for purpose, this stung a little on first viewing. The more I look at the page the more I am learning to embrace the change, as I have various with other aspects along this grief journey. I am not sure I will ever be able to delete him from my phone’s Favourites contact list, but that’s a blog for another day.