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The Rise of Deceased Social Media Accounts
Photo by Adem AY / Unsplash

The Rise of Deceased Social Media Accounts

The number of deceased social media accounts is expected to skyrocket in the coming decades in the U.S.

by Henry Chikwem Emmanuel Oyedeji

Today, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, from making posts and tweets to online interactions. These activities have culminated in what we now recognize as digital footprints.

However, as social media users and usage have grown over the years, so has the phenomenon of deceased social media accounts. Currently, there are profiles belonging to individuals who have passed away but whose digital presence remains.

This then begs the question: What effective management policies are there? Follow along as we explore this phenomenon in detail in this article.

How Many Deceased Social Media Accounts Are There? 

First of all, we need to understand that there are currently almost 5 billion social media users globally, representing about 61.47% of the total global population, according to data from Dataconomy

While we cannot give a concrete figure for the exact number of deceased social media accounts, we can generate estimates across various social media platforms using the U.S. as a case study.

Deceased Facebook Accounts in the U.S. 

Right now, there are 193.8 million Facebook users in the United States, making it the second country with the most users after India (378.05 million). 

As revealed by ExpressVPN, the platform is expected to have 63.9 million deceased accounts by 2025, 186.9 million in 2050, and 278.6 million in 2100, all from the United States.

From these figures, it is evident that, with the growing exponential rate of social media penetration in the U.S., more deceased Facebook accounts will spring up as the number of Facebook users continues to grow.

Deceased X Accounts in the U.S. 

The United States leads the world in terms of profile numbers on X, with 106.23 million users, a substantial gap from Japan (69.28 million) in second place. 

However, from the United States alone, X is projected to have 20.3 million deceased accounts in 2025, 61.1 million in 2050, and 94.9 million in 2100. 

These figures are quite low compared to other social media platforms, even though X existed before some of them.

However, the change in organizational structure, policies, and ownership in 2022 may have partially contributed to X's slow growth, hence the low numbers for projected deceased accounts in the U.S.

Deceased Instagram Accounts in the U.S. 

The U.S. again comes in second place, with 158.45 Instagram users as of today, just behind India, which has 358.55 Instagram users. 

According to this Forbes post, Instagram’s user base in the U.S. is projected to witness a 17.2% growth rate until 2027, which could see its user count reach 1.56 billion. 

Nonetheless, despite the optimistic projection, it is still expected to witness a similar fate with its sister platform, Facebook, in terms of the number of deceased accounts.

Instagram is projected to have 25.2 million deceased accounts in 2025, 89.2 million in 2050, and 158.6 million in 2100 from the U.S. alone. This will make it the second-largest platform with the most deceased accounts after Facebook.

Deceased TikTok Accounts in the U.S. 

The United States currently has 148 million TikTok users, making it the most extensive TikTok user base globally, with Indonesia (126.8 million) in second place.

Projections show that the platform will witness 18.3 million deceased accounts in 2025, 64.9 million in 2050, and 126.5 million in 2100 from the U.S. alone.

An interesting fact about this platform is that it is currently witnessing a rapid growth rate and has been predicted to become the fastest-growing platform. This means that all things being equal, it will most likely see more deceased users in the coming decades.

What Policies Have These Platforms Put in Place to Protect These Digital Legacies? 

No clear and structural policies have been set aside and enforced to ensure that the online deceased accounts of regular individuals and essential personalities are appropriately managed according to their wishes. 

However, social media platforms have certain measures in place that users can use to determine what happens to their accounts if they die. Here they are below:


Facebook has a “Memorialization” option that lets a deceased account become a hub where friends and family can share and gather memories, especially those revolving around the deceased individual. 

Usually, the account is marked with “Remembering” next to the name and does not appear in public spaces like People You May Know. 

The deceased person can also appoint a Legal Contact to oversee the account once it is memorialized and keep it active with profile updates and photos. 


Similar to Facebook, Instagram has a “Memorialization” feature that displays "Remembering" beside the user’s name once the account has been memorialized. 

However, Instagram does not offer the option of having a legal contact, as memorialization happens right after the person’s death. 

The family members or friends will be required to contact Instagram with evidence of death, such as a death certificate, to begin the account memorialization process. 


X does not have any measures in place for deceased accounts. It simply tags the account inactive once it hasn’t been used in the last 30 days (previously six months). 

However, a family member or friend can decide to log in regularly to keep the account active if they have the login and personal details of the deceased individual. 


A family member or a legal representative will have to contact TikTok to delete the deceased person’s account once evidence of death, such as a death certificate, is presented. As of today, TikTok does not have any measures to manage deceased accounts.

Future Directions in Policy and Practice 

As technology evolves, social media platforms and policymakers must adapt to address the challenges associated with deceased users' accounts. 

Future directions include more robust legacy management tools, explicit legal guidelines, and increased advocacy for users to plan their digital legacies. 

Collaboration between tech companies, legal experts, and user advocacy groups will be crucial in shaping these future practices.


The rise of deceased social media accounts reflects how our lives are intertwined with digital technology. As our digital lives continue to expand, so too will the need for thoughtful and compassionate approaches to managing digital legacies.

Individuals should make proactive efforts to manage their digital presence. This can include designating legacy contacts, planning for digital assets, and discussing preferences with loved ones. 

They should also make the most of the available resources and tools to assist in these efforts, ensuring that digital legacies are handled with care and respect. 

by Henry Chikwem Emmanuel Oyedeji

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