Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What happens to your Twitter after you die?

When you are dead, what happens to your Twitter account? Last week Alltop posted an article explaining what becomes of your Hotmail, Gmail and Facebook accounts with a link to an article on what happens to your MySpace and Yahoo after death. But what about Twitter?

I was unable to find any mention of Twitter’s policy with death when scanning their Terms of Service or Privacy Policy pages, so I sent the Twitter support team an email.

As per Twitter’s Privacy Policy, they cannot disclose account information or passwords to anyone, even after you die. That means that your next of kin won’t have access to your direct messages and they wont be able to send out a message to inform your followers.

Twitter will remove the account for you though, if requested. A family member needs to fax or post a copy of the death certificate in to Twitter along with the Twitter user name of the person who died.

Without thinking too hard about it, I can name two dozen online accounts that I have opened, from blogs to banking, shopping to socializing, but I am sure I have even more. With so much of our lives online these days, do you think people will start leaving instructions as to what to do with their empire of online profiles after they die?

You can find me on Twitter here: @DanHowe.


  1. That is very interesting. I wouldn't want anyone to see in my DM's though. Nuff said LOL! However, I sure wish our family could have gained access to my sister's myspace after she suddenly died at the young age of 39. She had tons of photos of her and my nephews set to Private, but we lost access so we couldn't save all those great photos she'd sent via cell to her account. We all should keep a record of those accounts we'd like our loved ones to be able to access after we're gone. Those can be cherished things later..

  2. I have written down all my passwords for when I die

  3. It's an interesting area. I am an Estates Planning Practiober and I advise my clients to make provisions in their Will to pass details on to loved ones regarding the myriad of online accounts they have and how to access them.

  4. it surprises me that someone doesn't already provide this service!

  5. Have you tried www.legacylocker.com?

    Stores all of those for your next of kin. Requires only a once a lifetime payment.

  6. @Foxie would u really mind some one reading your DMs *after* you died? lol

  7. About two years ago, I actually wrote a document about this subject (among other things) for my husband. I saved a copy on my hard drive, emailed it to him, and put a copy in our safe with our wills. The online account information is not the most important item on the list (our sons' medications, things he may not think about while he's grieving regarding bills and the budget, etc. all come first), but I definitely listed them as something he should take care of if anything happens to me.

  8. I quite frankly don't pay any attention to what would happen to online profiles after my death.

    I think it has to do with being busy living a happy life that makes it rather pointless to think of what to do after death.

    It is, however, a good policy to require a fax copy of a death certificate, but - on the other hand - we have one other person with the same name as mine, so there could be a risk of confusion when papers are in Danish and support people mostly speak English...

    Anyway, live life to the fullest. :-)

  9. I wrote about my experiences with closing down my husband's online life after he died. There are a lot of things to think about and a little bit of planning now can save your families a whole lot of trouble later.
    You can read it at elpie.posterous.com

  10. My best friend of 16 years and my husband of 8 know my passwords to just about everything. I know theirs. If I can't trust the two people I spend almost all my non-work waking hours with, then I have bigger issues then my Yahoo account. Also, all my accounts log in automaticly from my laptop.

  11. I have no kids and my parents hardly know how to switch on a computer.....
    Vincent van Gogh left his paintings, the world can have my Twitter account.

    Happy Tweeting

  12. im writing a book actually on this
    a lot of my childhood, high school and college friends have passed away since the blow up of facebook and twitter
    its extremely interesting to me how their digital lives continue
    how their walls are grave sites and their pictures are illusive ghosts of them
    memories, feelings, thoughts and their lives will live forever online
    is it weird to keep it going and allow it to become a memorial
    or is it unfair to take that away

    more importantly, what would the unfortunate soul who passes away want?


  13. Thanks Sungwi,

    Will try and post a bit more this week :)