Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot outside her house. The murder of the journalist-activist in Bengaluru set off waves of protest across the country. However, earlier this week, her Facebook status is believed to have turned active and screenshots of it were circulated online, shocking people in her circle. So, can someone access your social media accounts after you die, unless you have shared the password with someone? Here's what happens to your social media accounts after you die. 


Twitter will close your account at the request of family members. This can be done via a Privacy Form. It requires a copy of the family member's ID card and also the deceased's death certificate. The documents are to prevent false and/or unauthorised reports.

In case a user is incapacitated, due to medical or other reasons, Twitter works with a person authorised to act on the behalf of the user to have an account deactivated. This form can be used as a request for the removal of an incapacitated user's account. On submitting it, Twitter will send you a set of instructions for providing more details.

Facebook has also listed clear guidelines to what happens to you account after you die. It lets you designate a contact who can pin a post on your Timeline informing others about your death. The legacy contact cannot access your account or read your messages, but will be able to change your cover photo, profile picture and even respond to friend requests.

Under Settings > General, you can assign a legacy contact. You can choose a name from your Facebook friends list. A write-up will pop-up that you can choose to send to your legacy contact informing them about it. 

Memorialised Accounts

After a person's death, you can write to Facebook and get the account memorialised. The word Remembering will be shown next to the person's name on their profile. Friends and family can still share memories here. You also have the option to memorialise your own account after death. It means, no one can log into your account and it is as good as frozen.

Remove/Delete account

A verified immediate family member can also request for the removal of the account from Facebook. It will permanently delete that account.

And, you can choose to opt for these option right now! Under Settings, under the General tab you can simply choose to delete your account after death or memorialise it. This will happen once Facebook is notified about your death. 

If I Die App

'If I Die' is a Facebook app that lets you create a video or text message, probably a last wish or something you want everyone to know, which will be posted after you die. The app lets you choose three friends, and only once these three confirm you are dead, the messages will be shared. You can check out the app here


Instagram also gives you option to either memorialise the account sending the request here, and also request for removal of the account from Instagram.