The Social Media Will and Testament

It is inevitable — one day we won’t be here anymore. It’s an uncomfortable thought that makes me cringe, but it will happen. The reason why I bring this up is because of an interesting debate I heard a while back on the talk radio station NewsTalk 1010, as well as in a social media class I took in university. The question for debate is:  what happens to your social media account after you die, and who should have access to it?

 

Should anyone have access to your account?

Facebook has already taken this thought into consideration. According to an article posted on The Telegraph, a Facebook account can be “memorialized,” or a user can choose a legacy contact when they first create their Facebook account. This legacy contact will then have the access to delete the Facebook account or create any changes to the profile (Telegraph Financial Services, 2017). However, there is a privacy issue that needs to be considered. According to Facebook, it is a violation of one’s privacy to have another person log in to their account (who is not the legacy) to deactivate it, and is considered “breaking the law” (Telegraph Financial Services, 2017). Personal information is housed in social media profiles, and if this information falls into the wrong hands, it could be detrimental. Who would want to get charged for that? Would it even be worth it? I honestly do not think this is all worth the effort and trouble.

To play devil’s advocate, I can imagine the frustration that goes on. What if someone you loved dearly passed away and you wanted to access their social media? What if there was something that could have been stopped and they shared it with someone online, and since it could be considered “a crime,” you would not be able to access their account?

pexels-photo-607812.jpeg

Photo provided by Pexels

Is it all worth the hassle?

Other social media sites require a death certificate or a form to be filled out. Why all the hassle for just a social media account? In an article on CBC.ca written by RJ Skinner (2017), whoever has access to your social media account after your death, or if anyone has access to it, is totally up to you. Consider it your Social Media Will and Testament; you can pick and choose if you want someone to be your legacy, or you can choose for your account to be locked, forever.

 

What do you think of all this? Would you want someone to be your social media legacy, or do you not care if someone takes over your social media account?

 

Referenced articles:

Skinner, R.J. (2017). What happens to your social media accounts when you die is up to you. CBC. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/what-happens-to-your-social-media-accounts-when-you-die-is-up-to-you-1.4060609

Telegraph Financial Services. (2017). What happens to your social media accounts after you die? The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/financial-services/retirement-solutions/funeral-plans/social-media-after-death/

 

Curious about what happens to your social media accounts after you pass on? Me, too. Click here to find out: https://bit.ly/2H14KRa 

 

What will happen to your social media profile if you die? Click here to read and find out more: https://bit.ly/2H14KRa 

7 thoughts on “The Social Media Will and Testament

  1. Very interesting read! Lots to consider and I have also wondered what would happen to someone’s social media accounts. Some people have their accounts open to the public and comments can be posted, both negative and positive, without anyone to delete or turn off the commenting. I would like to have a family member know the password to be able to deactivate my account.

  2. I’m torn on this one. I feel it is to each their own and I wouldn’t be surprised if this type of thing is incorporated into a will.

    Until the account is change to a “memorialized” it functions like a normal account—people who have passed away have shown up as “people you may know”. I was told to connect with my late father on LinkedIn even though he was not a member, and I had not given permission to access my contacts. Needless to say, I was pretty gobsmacked.

  3. Very interesting subject!

    Personally, I do not care if someone takes over my account or not, and I would probably be fine if my account was deleted after I die. I do find it kind of eery when the account of a late friend is shown on Facebook, but I do think the legacy option on Facebook is a nice idea.

    I do find it interesting how the issue at hand corresponds directly with how important social media has become in our lives. It shows just how important our online presence is even after we are gone. It truly shows the old adage that “once something is put online, it is out there forever”.

    Reputation management, especially of our online profiles, has come to be seen in the same way that our property or estates are seen, especially in terms of circumstances surrounding our death.

    • I agree, Pat! Social media has become such a crucial part of our everyday lives that people are now thinking about what will happen to their accounts when they have passed on. We are connected all times of the day, and social media is almost a little part of who we are, online on different sites.

  4. Social media accounts should be able to be deleted when the owner passes away, but only on certain conditions. A person should only be able to delete a social media account if the previous owner gave enough information legally for the access to login, with a documentation of the owner sending it to the certain person or, from the other person receiving it from the owner. Overall once someone passes away, others should be able to delete their account because it is no longer the first owners choice. There should be more laws that limit in a more effective way, who has the right to delete the account of the person who passed away, just for legal purposes. Mostly only someone that can prove to have been given access to the owner accounts with documentation should be allowed to manage or delete the account. This method is reasonable because the social media of a person can be very private, and in some cases, if the wrong information is in the wrong hands, then this could potentially also harm others.

  5. I found this article very interesting. My father-in-law passed away last week and we were asked if my he had any social media accounts. I did not ask what they would do if he did but certainly will at our next visit. I think a legacy is a great idea with the executor being able to be given access.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.