Covid-19 Prompts Instagram to Speed Up Work on Its Memorialization Features

Like Facebook, 'Remembering' appears with the deceased’s name

Instagram will help people identify if an account belongs to someone who has passed away Prostock-Studio/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Speeding up the release of new features is generally a positive thing at social platforms, but in this case, the need being filled is a somber one.

Blogger and developer Jane Manchun Wong discovered an account memorialization feature in Instagram’s code and shared it in a tweet.

Just like memorialized accounts on Facebook, “Remembering” appeared with the username.

An Instagram spokesperson confirmed that the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network was working on the feature, saying, “We’re making changes to help people identify if an Instagram account belongs to someone who has passed away. This includes a ‘Remembering’ tag that will appear on the account, among other updates that will be available in a few weeks.”

And Instagram spokesperson Liza Crenshaw told Katie Notopoulos of BuzzFeed News, “We’ve been working on these updates for some time, though this is one—among others—that we’ve accelerated in light of Covid-19 to help support our community during a difficult time.”

Under the process currently in place at Instagram, family members can request that the account of a dead person be memorialized via a form, which will preserve the account so that it is not altered or deleted, as well as prevent anyone from logging into it.

Those accounts do not show up in the Explore tab, and friends can still send Instagram Direct messages to those accounts, although those messages cannot be read by anyone. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.