Is it illegal to create a, say, Facebook/Twitter account under the full legal name of a deceased person and try to mimic or imitate their living likeness, such as using it as if you were them (like they're alive).

I mean you can't be stealing from them directly if they're not alive. It may be indecent, but is it illegal to impersonate the person who has passed? Will it count as "posing as another" if the "another" is dead?

Most importantly, is it illegal?

6 Answers 6


You tag the question with "criminal law", suggesting that by "illegal" you mean "is it a crime" -- that would depend on jurisdiction, but in the US or my state, it is not a crime. There are crimes that you could commit with such an account, but violating the TOS is not itself a crime. However, it is illegal, a breach of contract, as you can see from the TOS "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission".


It may violate the terms of use of the site that you're using, but in the US, there is no law against what you're proposing, even if the person was alive.


If you are using the person's likeness for commercial purposes, or you derive profit from it, you could be found liable to their estate based on their . (However, that would be a tort, not a crime.)


If you commit a fraud by impersonating another person, either directly or by convincing them to act counter to their interests, based on your false presentation, then yes, you have likely committed a crime.


It is illegal to create a Page or Profile using another person's name, information and Photos. This is not only Impersonation but also constitutes Fraud, Theft of Intellectual Property, etc. Pages, Groups, and Events must not impersonate or falsely represent a brand, entity, or public figure. If the person is deceased, all his property, including Intellectual Property, would go to the person named in a Will, or in the event that no Will exists, it would revert to the Next Of Kin.

However, There is one exception to this. Where a Page, Group, or Event is being used to express support for or interest in a brand, entity, or public figure, it must make clear in the name or description that it is not an official representation.

Fake Profiles are created every day and the main purpose is to defraud people out of money or perpetuate some scam.

Hope this answers this question for you.

  • What is the law that makes it illegal? Which country is that law in? Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 18:13

It all depends upon what you do intend to do. If you set up a social media page for George Washington, that in itself is not illegal. If you try to mislead people by using someone's name then you open the door to problems.

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