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How to Announce the Death of a Loved One on Facebook

Losing a loved one is always going to be difficult, especially when you’ve got a rollercoaster of emotions to deal with.

It will be hard to accept the news, but making a death announcement will let other people in your loved one’s life know what has happened.

Traditionally, a death announcement would have been a small, brief, printed statement informing the public of a person’s death. It might have been placed in the deceased locale's newspaper, the decedent’s local newspaper, or a national newspaper.

Increasingly however, posting a death announcement on Facebook has become more commonplace. This is due in part to the fact that Gen Z is more open to talking about death and sharing such news on social media. Millennials have also expressed a preference for social media postings rather than notifying nearest and dearest by telephone.

Facebook can be an excellent medium to make a death announcement since it connects all family and friends in one place.

Should you post on Facebook when someone dies?

It is not uncommon for people to worry whether it’s appropriate to announce a death on Facebook. Social media has become intertwined with all aspects of modern life. It is not unusual to see these platforms used for all sorts of milestone announcements. Weddings, birthdays, births, anniversaries, graduations, and many other achievements are commonly celebrated online.

But what about funerals? Yes, you can use the digital space to announce a death or commemorate a deceased person, but it’s essential to proceed with caution.

It’s fast, efficient, and less draining than traditional methods, but it requires sensitivity and tact for it to be effective and appreciated.

There are no rules, as such, but it’s important to consider the feelings of those who will be reading the post. Therefore, before you post anything on Facebook or any other social media platform, make sure it’s the right thing for you, your family, and the friends of the deceased. If you want to post online, it’s often a good idea to tell close friends and family members in person or over the phone first.

Something that can help you decide whether it’s the right thing to do is whether you’ve been designated as a legacy contact. This is something Facebook allows you to do and gives that person the ability to create a beautiful memorial post and to pin it indefinitely to the top of their timeline. A legacy contact can’t create posts on your behalf, and they can’t access your messages. What they can do, however, is access photos and download them to your archive.

The etiquette for death announcements on Facebook

It might feel like social media has been around forever, but it’s still very new for many people. This can make it unclear how best to proceed when faced with the death of a loved one.

Here are some tips for deciding whether to create a Facebook post about the death of a loved one and how best to use the platform when someone has passed away.

  • Notify close loved ones in person: It’s not very respectful to learn that a best friend, grandmother, son, or significant other has passed away while browsing the internet. It’s much better to contact those who were very close in person, or at the very least by telephone.
  • Timing of the announcement is crucial: Announce a death on social media after waiting a day or two. Posting too quickly risks loved ones finding out online, leading to confusion or panic for those organising funeral arrangements.
  • Soften the blow: Allow readers to postpone receiving bad news as it is a courtesy you should afford them. Provide a warning to readers that the post they’re about to read contains sad news.
  • Take into account the deceased person’s online presence: Consider the deceased’s age, social media presence, and your knowledge of them before announcing their death on Facebook.
  • Making the post: Facebook death notices should be factual rather than sentimental. A death announcement is not the time to ask for attention.
  • Create a digital memorial: Creating a digital memorial for a loved one is a practical and elegant alternative to announcing a death online in a news post. It’s kind of like carrying on the age-old tradition of death announcements but in a modern way.
  • Don’t use the account of the person, but share from one’s personal account.
  • Set the view options to Public or Friends only, depending on who can see the news
  • Consider using a death announcements group: This is where a given community shares similar posts.


Tips for a simple death announcement post

So what should you write on Facebook when someone dies? The critical thing to remember is that a death announcement is not an obituary. Instead, it’s a short note to inform others of the person’s death and provide some information on how people can learn more about services.

Your intention should be to inform. Ideally, it should be no more than 600 characters at the most. Try to share the actual death news in the second sentence to ensure people see it without opening the entire message.

Keep the announcement short and concise, including the most essential information such as the deceased’s full name, date and cause of death, date, time, and location of services if already planned, and permission to share the post or not.

A death announcement is not the place for using a bunch of emojis. Instead, the tone of your message should be elegant and sombre. It’s also best to share the news using only text rather than including photos, memes, and videos.

If you want to share the death announcement post, make sure your post is public. You should make the post ‘Friends only’ if you want it to reach only the circle of Facebook friends of the deceased person.

Examples of Facebook death notices

If you’re stuck for the right words to use when announcing a death on social media, having some examples can help you craft your own respectful post. Here is one you can use for inspiration:

Sad announcement ahead.

Finding the right words to say that my sister, Gil Hurley, has passed away is hard for me. I know she was known to many, but she lost her battle with breast cancer on Saturday, June 20, 2021.

Funeral services will be private for immediate family members only at Gil’s request.

Friends and distant relatives are welcome to make donations to the Dogs Trust UK in her name.

Please help us inform all who knew her by sharing this post.

Social media after death

When a loved one dies, dealing with their social media accounts is something you’ll eventually need to deal with. There are two main options for how you can deal with their digital legacy.

Closing social accounts

A common choice is to close or delete social media accounts. When you do this, it will permanently remove photographs and all the information stored on the account. Before you close anything, talk to other family and friends to ensure they’re happy for the online life of a loved one to be deleted. To close social media sites, you’ll need to let each site know that the individual has passed away and provide specific documentation.

Memorialising a Facebook account

On the other hand, you might prefer to keep the deceased’s accounts active as a way of remembering them and allowing those who knew and loved them to do the same.

Memorialising an account changes how the profile works, making it clear to other social media users that the person is now deceased.

However, it’s important to remember that not all social media platforms allow you to memorialise a person’s profile.

If you want to find out more about creating a memorial page on Facebook, there’s plenty of helpful information online.

Creating an online memorial for your loved one

An online memorial can be a connection point that many people appreciate. It provides a single location for sharing information that allows everyone to participate. It can be a place where people share their thoughts and feelings.

Having an easy-to-access location to share thoughts, connect with people, and read what others posted about the loss can reassure and help with the grieving process.