How to Memorialize a Facebook Account: An In-Depth Guide for Families and Business Owners

Losing a loved one is profoundly difficult. In the digital era, you may be left wondering what happens to their Facebook account and online presence after they pass away. Memorializing someone‘s Facebook account can help ease the transition by preserving their memories online while also securing their private information.

As a consultant for small and medium-sized business owners, I often advise entrepreneurs on digital estate planning to protect both personal and business assets online after death. A key part of this process is understanding memorialized accounts on Facebook.

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk through everything you need to know about memorialized Facebook accounts from both a personal and business perspective, including:

  • An overview of memorialized accounts
  • Step-by-step instructions for submitting requests
  • Guidance for legacy contacts and managing memorialized pages
  • Legal considerations for digital asset inheritance
  • Memorialization features and functionality
  • Security and privacy settings for accounts
  • Downloading memorialized account data
  • Alternative memorialization options
  • Case studies and examples of tributes
  • Special guidance for memorializing business pages

I will also discuss the grieving process and using online profiles for closure. My goal is to prepare both families and business owners on handling Facebook accounts after an untimely death with empathy and practical wisdom.

What Does Memorializing an Account Mean?

When a Facebook account gets memorialized, it enters a special locked state to commemorate the deceased‘s life. Here are the key effects:

  • The word “Remembering” appears next to the name. This signals that the account is now memorialized.
  • The account can no longer be logged into by anyone. It becomes fully secured.
  • Friends and family can still see the person’s profile, posts, photos and list of friends. This depends on privacy settings.
  • Loved ones can post memories and reactions on the memorialized Timeline.
  • Certain account features become disabled, like suggestions and birthday reminders.

Approximately 30 million Facebook profiles belong to deceased users, with tens of thousands being memorialized daily.

Memorialization preserves an accurate record of the person‘s profile while securing the account. It‘s the perfect option if families want to maintain a virtual grave or space for friends to mourn someone.

Now let’s walk through how to submit a memorialization request…

How to Request Memorialization

Memorializing a Facebook account involves submitting a special request form to Facebook. To do so:

  1. Visit Facebook‘s Memorialization Request Form.
  2. Enter the full name of the deceased person and a link to their Facebook profile.
  3. Provide a credible link to a published obituary or news article reporting their passing.
  4. Select your relationship to the deceased (immediate family and executors receive priority).
  5. Check any additional accounts (Instagram, Oculus) that need memorializing as well.
  6. Click “Submit” and wait for Facebook to review your case.

Facebook aims to review memorialization requests within 24 hours. They may ask for additional verification documents like a death certificate.

Once approved, the account immediately enters memorialized status. If you represent a business owner who recently passed, submitting a memorialization request for their professional pages can help protect both their digital legacy and company itself during a difficult leadership transition.

Now let‘s explore memorialized accounts in greater detail…

Features and Functionality

Once memorialized, certain account features change to reflect the commemorative status:

Secured Account Access

  • Logins are permanently disabled. No one can access the memorialized account. This prevents hacking or unauthorized changes.

Limited Public Interactions

  • Friends and followers may still post on the Timeline depending on privacy settings. This allows loved ones to share memories and condolences.

A study found that 60% of adolescents use social media to commemorate friends and family who have died.

  • Friends can tag the memorialized account and invite them to events. Disable tag review notifications in settings if desired.

Disabled Account Features

  • Suggestions for People You May Know and birthday notifications get removed. This prevents painful reminders about the loss.
  • Ads will no longer be shown to visitors of the memorialized profile. This prevents any monetization after death.

While these measures help preserve accounts, families do have additional memorialization options…

Alternative Memorialization Options

Beyond the official account memorialization process, there are a few alternatives that I recommend exploring:

Tributary Groups

Friends and family can create a dedicated Facebook Group to honor the deceased. This provides a sacred space to share stories, photos, and memories without needing to alter the person‘s original Timeline.

Secondary Memorial Accounts

A loved one can create a secondary "In Memory Of" profile to manage as an ongoing tribute page. This memorial account can remain active rather than secured.

Choosing a Legacy Contact

With memorialized Facebook accounts, families have the option to assign a legacy contact. This provides a designated manager to control and oversee the memorialized profile if desired.

73% of online adults say someone should manage their digital accounts after death, yet only 11% have set this up.

Legacy contacts can:

  • Pin a post to the top of the memorialized Timeline. This might share a final message, updated profile photo, and new cover image.
  • Respond to new friend requests and update privacy settings if needed. This keeps the memorialized account secure.
  • Request the account removal if desired by the family. Facebook does allow permanent deletion after memorialization if preferred.
  • Download a copy of the preserved account data including photos, posts and profile information.

To assign a legacy contact, visit the Memorialization Settings page prior to submitting your request. Eligible candidates include confirmed friends who accept the responsibilities. Let‘s explore this role further…

Guidance for Legacy Contacts

As a legacy contact entrusted with a memorialized account, you play an important role in curating a respectful and accurate tribute. Here is some guidance:

Initial Post

Pin an initial post at the top of the memorialized Timeline introducing yourself as the legacy contact, sharing a photo, and welcoming visitors. This post remains permanently pinned.

Review Privacy Settings

Take time to review all account privacy settings and information. Enable the highest security. Disable tag review notifications and restrict who can see posts if needed.

Update Images

Consider changing the profile picture to a preferred photo selected by the family. Update the cover image similarly.

Milestone Days

On major milestone days like birthdays or the anniversary of the death, consider sharing a post highlighting special memories and stories. This revives visitors over the years.

YouTube found over 800 new videos are uploaded with "in memory of" dedications daily, showing digital spaces increasingly facilitate grief.

By serving as a custodian for the memorial, legacy contacts help ensure sensitive information remains protected while friends maintain an ongoing place to connect.

Downloading Memorialized Account Data

While Facebook disables login access when memorializing an account, approved managers can still download the deceased’s profile data for archival purposes thanks to a tool called “Manage Account After Someone Passes Away":

  • This special portal allows estate executors and legacy contacts to request a download of the preserved posts, photos, videos and profile information. You can save an archival copy locally.
  • Files arrive in either HTML or JSON formats for easy storage, containing a snapshot of the memorialized profile and content.
  • Photos and videos get downloaded in bulk rather than needing to save each one individually.
  • Certain activity logs and metadata also get included regarding posts, reactions, etc.

Securing this content makes it easier for family to integrate memories into a funeral or memorial service using a digital projector photo slideshow. Users also rely on these photos for tribute tattoos.

Legal Considerations Around Digital Asset Inheritance

At least 1 billion active Facebook profiles belong to deceased users according to Oxford researchers. So digital asset inheritance laws are still catching up.

Currently, 41 U.S. states have passed legislation governing access to digital assets after death. Rules can vary widely depending on your location. Some best practices based on existing regulations include:

Documenting Account Details

Keep a list documenting all digital accounts and passwords as part of your will to streamline account access. Consider sharing encrypted emergency login details with a small circle of trusted individuals.

Reviewing Provider Policies

Review and understand memorialization policies for platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Each one differs in how accounts can get managed after death. Some permanently delete inactive profiles.

Authorizing Access

Formally authorize key friends, family members or your executor to manage accounts through legacy contacts, Google’s Inactive Agent Manager, or estate lawyers.

While memorializing a Facebook account enables an online tribute, comment below if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to help business owners or families navigate this sensitive process.