What Happens to Your Social Media Profiles When You Die?
One of life's most perplexing existential questions gets a lot more complicated when you factor in social media.
While there's no definitive answer to what happens to us when we die, Dan Shaffer at WebpageFX put together a visual guide to social media life after death. While Twitter will start deleting accounts after six months of inactivity, most other social networks won't touch your profile unless specifically asked by a family member or an agent of law enforcement. Whether your account is deleted or deactivated, your data will be interred with your profile, and will typically only be unearthed if needed for a legal investigation.
Different sites require various forms of identification and proof of death to delete a profile, but Facebook allows you to turn a lost loved one's profile into a memorial page. The memorialized timeline is accessible and searchable only to friends, who can still post and look at pictures. The profile won't trigger birthday reminders, nor will it appear in "People You May Know" prompts, so friends will only see it on their own accord.
Facebook won't delete profiles on its own, though, which raises another interesting question: When will the profiles of dead Facebook users outnumber those of the living? According to research by XKCD, that will happen around 2065 if Facebook stops growing, or around 2130 if its membership keeps expanding.
Now if only we could figure out if there was an Internet heaven or hell.
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