06 April 2016

What happens to your social media accounts after you die?

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We live in a new age – the digital age. Everything that happens now is exciting and instead of just enjoying the moment we have to share it online with friends, family and “friends” who we’ve never met and probably never will. So what happens when a big life event occurs when you just can’t post like when your battery dies or when you die?

A while ago Facebook has introduced a brand feature where it allows you to select a legacy account manager who can manage your account after you’re gone. While the assigned person may not read your private messages, they are able to upload photos, add or delete posts and monitor your account. This is actually the first time you’ll be able to post old posts and photos in the hands of someone else and have them control it for you when you pass away.In addition, if a person hasn’t been nominated on the site but has been asked to do the same job then the site will respect the wishes of the deceased.

Jumping back to the digital age I brought up earlier in this post via Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Youtube etc. are more than just fun for a lot of people. They are monetising businesses. And in those situations what happens to the account after death is a real serious question.

Let’s say for one second that you’re favourite youtuber should pass away and their channel was signed to a multichannel network, who owns the content post mortem? Is it owned by the network, the family or does it just get deleted?

Let’s consider another example that Twits, emails and Facebook posts are like boxes in a storage unit. If you stop paying for a storage unit, it gets sold to the highest bidder. If we treat your data this way then your email provider could decide to delete your account or even sell your email address once it’s no longer in their best financial interest. This doesn’t sit right but that’s what email companies do.

Personally this is how I’ve lost an account. Gmail’s terms and conditions state that if your email account is inactive for 9 months then they have a right to delete it. One can argue that our emails, Facebook and twitter are not boxes in a storage unit; they are thoughts, images and conversations that are part of our intimate selves.

While we are using digital platforms, yes, we are agreeing to the terms and conditions that rule these digital footprints in exchange for the services the platforms provide.

What do you think should be done about social media accounts after death? Comment down below your thoughts.

The best part of my job as a Conference Production Manager is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

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