News of a person’s death, as well as tributes, are often shared on social media sites. You might want to make an announcement yourself, or contact people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Information relating to social media and what to do when someone dies can be found here.
Social media – sites and services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc – are the way many people keep in touch. The news of a death is often shared on social media, sometimes before some friends or family members have found out in other ways. You may need to decide what to say about a death on social media, and how to deal with someone’s accounts after they have died. Social media sites are also often used to collect tributes to someone who has died – this can be comforting, but in some circumstances also distressing.
After the news is shared, you may have to decide what to do about your friend or relative’s social media accounts. Some sites have specific policies in place about what can happen. There are two options for Facebook accounts – they can be converted to a “remembering” page, so that you can continue to post messages for and about that person. Alternatively next of kin can ask for a person’s page to be removed.
Social media can become somewhere people share memories and tributes to someone who has died. There are many tribute sites which exist specifically so that friends and relatives can keep in touch with others who cared about their loved one. This continuing bond with a person who died can be comforting. Unfortunately, it is also possible to be anonymous online, and sometimes people post unpleasant or abusive messages. If this happens to you there may be procedures you can follow to block users or take down unpleasant messages.
You should be aware that information placed on the web cannot be controlled and becomes very public. The traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio and television) will also be able access social networking and tribute sites and draw information from them.