Major social network handles such as Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn, etc have all grown to become important history ’human record books’.
The fact that they keep record of some key intellectual works, professional works and social lives activities cannot be ignored. Therefore they must be regulated to safeguard such individual records; aid users to create a Social media WILL’ and the ‘Will’ be administered.

Through this article we are looking at the state of social network accounts previously operated by ‘deceased users’. What happens when a social media handle user dies? 

Creating a scheme (preferably a uniform policy) to recognize deceased people whose profiles on social network platforms are still active has become a crucial subject. Most social network companies have existing policies on the subject matter. However I believe such policies could be improved upon.

The need for such essential restructuring cannot be over emphasized. Each day we record unfortunate deaths ...although we wish no one dies but then it’s an inevitable natural occurrence ... we are all mortal.

A ‘deceased’ social network/media account should be allowed to stay active for future generational importance and purpose. Its value accelerate and metamorphose into ‘historic achieves’ with time and could be exhume by form of research. Its importance and beauty is further proving when family and friends enjoy accessing such accounts for information or emotional satisfaction.

Form of Identification:

I believe it is innovative and ideal to create a unique icon, tag to confirm that an account belongs to someone late. Other users (public) accessing such account should recognize it with such icon or a tag. 

Creating a tag icon for a deceased account is absolutely necessary. The importance of social network sites has grown beyond being an interactive platform to becoming ‘history record books’ for all. 

Social network companies do not have a clarified means of getting informed about the demise of an account holder. Such is needed in other to verify and accord such account its proper placement. Third party (friends or relatives) submission could be admitted and verified by the social network company.

Social network companies ought to develop a similar or uniform policy in respect to 'deceased accounts'; such policy must favour the accounts being active continuously.

Consent Agreement Form:

Social network companies should create a ‘consent agreement’ where all users would have to decide on what happens to their account after death. “I call it your social media account WILL”.

The 'Will' agreement would seek for the social network user to consent/approve; what happens to his/her account? Who takes control of his/her account after death? ... Note that the approval could allow for more than one successor, who could take control consecutively. It shall deal with all relevant questions such as;

1. Do you want your account to stay active after your demise? YES or NO 

2. Do you wish to allow your account to be controlled by a third-party/ a successor after death? YES or NO

3. Do you wish to appoint more than one successor? YES or No

4. Name your successor in other of succession? (Who controls your account first, who takes over next)

5. Do you wish to appoint (e.g. facebook) as your successor-in-chief? YES or NO

This means facebook will be in total control of such accounts indefinitely.

The issue regarding degree of access could be determined by the social network company. For instance; the chats, messages between the late account holders could be restricted. While other materials such as his posts, photos etc could be accessed but cannot be deleted by the succor.

The successor-in-chief cannot alter, delete or block all friends of the late account holder. All other important issues in respect to the account needs be addressed by the social network company to set boundaries. 

Again there should be an alternative provision dealing with a case of no successor, a case of none testament (Will) and a situation where by successors are deceased too. In such cases the social media company should assume total control of such accounts. It is imperative for all users to sign up the Will testament form. It should be compulsory.

Another key issue revolves around intimate records that the user may not wish to be seen by a third party. Such materials, records should be hiding, deleted by the social network company if such has been approved by the user to be deleted or hiding from the successor who takes charge of the account after his/her death.

The issue of fact and evidence may be of importance to law. People practically air their life stories, activities and daily records on social media; such could be a source of evidence in proving someone’s innocense or indictment on a case. Accessing such materials in times of need by the authorities should be allowed. The police can seek for access to specific materials as exhibit. 

The need to create a means of identification for the deceased users on social network handles is necessary. This is why I come up with what I call the “RIP Tag Icon”. It’s simply an icon which confirms to the general public that such account belongs to a deceased person.

Read more (below) about RIP TAG ICON as created for facebook which should be adopted by other social network handles. (See samples of RIP Tag Icons for other social network handles above)


Facebook RIP Tag icon feature is simply an icon that is tagged on a profile page of a deceased person by any of his friends, relatives or by the social network company. The RIP tag is visible to the public as it helps to identify such profile as belonging to a deceased. The RIP can be tagged on a deceased facebook profile by his/her friends and can only be removed from the tagged profile by the person who tagged it, by the owner of the tagged profile or by the social network company. Therefore, where such person still lives and such tag was done out of spite or a pure mistake such can easily be removed by the profile owner or by the person who tagged it. When a profile is tagged unlawfully, the profile owner can report such abuse to facebook and the necessary sanction would be taking by the company against such culprit after conducting an investigations.


It would be ideal to create the facebook RIP tag icon (also for other network handles) as it would help facebook management team to take notice of those who are late but exist through their facebook homepages. 

It will help to create an automated remembrance day e.g. birthday (1960 - 2010) for such people and their existing friends on facebook notified of such a day to send special words expressing their feelings and love. 

Plus this would enable facebook to keep clean record of those who are deceased but still exist through their timeless facebook profile pages. It is an ideal feature that seem not just relevant but necessary. 

Facebook would be rightfully assuming its position as the ‘History Record Book of Life’ by keeping all deceased facebook pages alive. Imagine the thrill and emotions to be shared by people who search out the facebook page of their ancestral parents in thousands of years to come. 

Billions of people across the world do not have any reasonable history record (storage) materials that tell their life story. Nothing else documents the life experience of hundreds of millions of people across the world like the facebook accounts (and other social network accounts) of these people. If a person dies and his facebook account is closed, it simply means the only electronic record book that the person had that contains some valid information about him/her for the benefit of the generation unborn is destroyed. 

Facebook therefore must assume a new social responsibility as not just connecting people but equally preserving their history, keeping alive their history for the benefit of generations to come and for the world at large. Facebook must cement this historic feat by taking seriously the RIP Tag as a means of preserving the histories of dead facebook ex-users. Facebook can promote itself and record more followers as a network that connects people and equally preserves their history. 

The hash tag; #LetTheDeadLiveThroughFacebook seem appropriate for such wise decision to preserve the facebook profile of the deceased.

Example: “IN REMEMBRANCE OF Peter Lewis” shall accompany the icon to state subtly that this is added to the facebook profile out of good faith and in share love for his personality (i.e. the late profile owner). Our objective is not to perpetrate pain rather it is in honour of the deceased. 

Different cultures around the world and individuals out of respect and love for late loved ones from time to time honour them. Some honour the dead by celebrating them every year on that eve, others honour there late loved ones by visiting their tomb with flowers. Facebook in response to its social responsibility and in exhibition of its love for Facebook users worldwide would initiated this RIP Tag Icon to be placed permanently on a late facebook user’s profile account and ‘flowers at the tomb movement’ to commemorate their worthy life while on earth with us.

Flowers@Tomb: is a social movement to be initiated by facebook to encourage friends, relatives and acquaintances to celebrate late loved ones who have shared in one way or another with us their lives while on earth. The need to remember our loved ones cannot be over emphasized as we all share the pain at the time and share a smile when we recall the great impact they’ve all made while still alive. Therefore in our little way, we desire that people take the opportunity provided by “Flower@Tomb” to share, express and say nice words of love for the dead loved ones. No doubt if they’re still alive somewhere after ‘earthly death’, they shall all be happy to know we do remember them and that their precious lives was never in vain no matter how long or shot it was while they were here. It would be desirable too for friends and families to read how we feel for those that have left us.


The RIP tag icon if tagged to a person profile can only be removed by the person who tagged it or the owner of the profile if such a person still lives and still operates his account to avoid cases were people unlawfully tag a living being. Every profile tagged with RIP, the icon would be visible to everyone who visits such profile as a clear notice that the person is dead or late.

The RIP icon would be ideal to include the name and years of existence of the deceased. Such details will prove handy and useful for future references by anyone who needs such honest information.

Another feature associated with the dead is free flowers at the tomb; this is made available to friends and friends of friends on a deceased profile on his remembrance day. Such flowers would be made available by facebook for free to friends of a deceased to post at the facebook page of the deceased as a sign of remembrance. Note though that the free flowers would not be customized but the customized version of the flowers which allowed the sender to make special write ups and add photos would be paid for but at low prices affordable by majority. Note that such gifts are made available through another new feature on facebook called the ‘Gift Room’. (Note that facebook could choose to make all flowers including customized ones free completely)


A simple study conducted by SCMC reveals that people have strong sentimental attachment to the dead. This is why they often express themselves in a positive way showing love to the dead. Loved ones, friends and relatives often take steps to remember their late loved ones, seizing special opportunities to express their deepest regret and how much they miss their presence.

It has often been said that ‘to whom much is given more is expected’. Facebook primary purpose of connecting people needs to expand to embrace new positive responsibilities which now include preserving our history. I believe Facebook integral goal is not just to create a platform that connects people but was equally to create a platform with features that would enable people express their feelings, share with others and create a stronger bond, and comrade. The onus therefore lies with the company to continuously indulge in creation and introduction of enabling features that would satisfy the desire of the people to express their feelings and share with one another their joy and pain. As they say ‘a problem shared is a problem half solved’.

The RIP tag will not only assist to create a distinction between the living and the dead but will help keep record of those whom we’ve lost to death. It is very important.





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